The Marshall Liberal Government is today announcing the locations of 40 new crisis accommodation beds for South Australians escaping domestic and family violence in a $4 million initiative.
In a bold new move to address domestic violence, the initiative includes a trial that removes perpetrators from homes.
The crisis beds will be placed in the areas of greatest need in northern and southern Adelaide and the Murray Mallee, Eyre and Eastern region, including the regional centres Berri, Murray Bridge, Ceduna, Whyalla and Port Lincoln.
In a move to ensure the beds are available as soon as possible, South Australian Housing Trust stock will be refurbished and fitted with upgraded security to support women to live independently but safely.
Clients in these crisis beds will receive support services including intensive outreach support, help managing safety issues and assistance into safe and sustainable accommodation.
The services will also help people return home if it is safe to do so and help people enter the private or social housing rental market.
Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said the Liberal Government was fulfilling an election commitment to deliver 40 new crisis beds across South Australia.
“I am proud the Marshall Liberal Government is delivering on its key election commitment which will mean more women have access to emergency accommodation when they need it, as well as vital support services,” said Minister Lensink.
“The locations chosen for the crisis beds are the areas of greatest need following direct feedback from the domestic and family violence sector and the community.
“A key motivation for this reform is to provide victims with more options closer to support networks, including family, schools and their employer.”
A small number of beds will be used to trial perpetrator inventions, which will see perpetrators removed from the family home and provided with alternative accommodation and access to support services.
“We’re a State Government that listens to people at the coal face delivering these services and that why we are rolling out a mix of crisis beds and a small number of perpetrator beds,” said Minister Lensink.
“Removing the perpetrator from the home responds directly to feedback we received from the sector and the community and allows partners and families to remain in the family home, if safe to do so, and results in less disruption to their lives.
“This perpetrator pilot means that in some cases, the victims of domestic violence will have the opportunity to remain in their own home, if it is assessed as safe to do so, while the perpetrator is removed. This will mean less disruption to victims at what is an already very traumatic time.
“The trial is also an opportunity to explore what interventions might work as perpetrators will have an opportunity to engage with support services to help them change their behaviour.
“Support services will provide oversight of the perpetrator to ensure the safety of women and their children.”
A total of 75 per cent of the crisis beds will be delivered by the end of the year and the remaining 25 per cent by the end of April 2020. The beds will include units, refurbished properties and newly-built properties.
Assistant Minister for Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Carolyn Power said the crisis beds were a critical accommodation option for people fleeing domestic violence.
“During the domestic violence roundtables I attended with the Minister across the state, the strong message was the need for crisis accommodation that provides links to a network of support services – especially in regional areas – and that’s what these crisis beds aim to do,” said Mrs Power.
“We also heard that many people who experience domestic violence want to stay in their own homes, if it is safe to do so, to maintain access with their own support networks and rebuild their lives. This is why the State Government and non-government sector are working closely together to find ways to do this.”
Mrs Power said the crisis bed initiative formed part of a wider $11.9 million investment on a suite of measures to support women and children at risk.
“The safety of all South Australians is paramount and the new crisis accommodation beds are crucial in the Marshall Liberal Government’s commitment to addressing domestic and family violence in our state,” said Mrs Power.
Women’s Safety Services SA chief executive officer Maria Hagias said she welcomed the State Government announcement to fund 40 crisis beds in locations where they are needed across SA.
“We are also pleased to have worked in partnership with the government through state-wide consultations regarding the provision of extra beds,” said Ms Hagias.
“Many women are forced to make the difficult decision to leave a violent household, a decision that becomes even more complex when dependent children are involved.
“As part of this work, we also look forward to our work with the State Government in developing models that support women and children to remain in their homes, where it is safe to do so.”