Anglicare WA has called for more crisis and transitional housing for families and children escaping family and domestic violence, as well as the support services needed to complement that.
The call comes in the wake today of the release of Anglicare Australia’s 2017 State of the Family Report, The Meaning of Home.
CEO for Anglicare WA, Ian Carter, said each State and Territory had highlighted its own areas of concern in the national overview, but for WA it was the desire to focus on emergency accommodation triggered by family and domestic violence.
“Home should be a safe space we can make our own. It’s our place to belong. Everyone needs, and should have, a safe and affordable home,” Mr Carter said.
“The State of The Family report explores the experiences of people who use Anglicare services nationwide, with hundreds of Australians surveyed as to what ‘home‘ means to them.
“Their stories show that home is about much more than having a roof over our heads – it’s about community, belonging, and security. Home is the basis on which we all build our lives,” Mr Carter said.
Mr Carter said the main finding of the report was that people seeking help need unconditional support to rebuild their lives.
“Anglicare WA works with families and children facing a variety of circumstances, and for some their home has become a place of violence where relationships have deteriorated.
“We are especially concerned for the many children living with the experience of family and domestic violence and we struggle to service this need with a lack of adequate resources for this important work.
“In feeling unsafe at home, children and young people caught in the trauma of domestic violence can feel unsafe in general. They may experience isolation, mistrust, and overwhelming feelings of anger, helplessness and fear.
“The impact of family violence on children and families involved is bad enough, but the knock-on effects damage our society as a whole.
“Anglicare WA reaches out to these vulnerable children before they’re so profoundly affected that they too inflict violence, in the schoolyard, at home, or in their own families later in life.
“To rebuild their lives, people need space, security, and most importantly, unconditional support. This report is full of stories of people who have overcome major challenges because they’ve enjoyed the benefits and stability of home,” Mr Carter said.
Anglicare WA says that access to safe and secure accommodation is necessary, but not sufficient for children to grow and thrive.
Recent community and corporate fundraising by Anglicare WA has secured enough money for it to keep open its Young Hearts counselling service in Mandurah and Rockingham, but without any government backing its future is uncertain.
“Young Hearts works with children living with the experience of family and domestic violence, and is highly regarded by WA Police and the Court system - but waiting lists have blown out to six months and demand is rising,” Mr Carter said.
Anglicare WA assists children, young people, and new parents to improve communication and strengthen relationships, often under challenging circumstances, to create positive associations with home as a place of healing.
This is Anglicare’s 17th National report on the State of the Family.