10 October 2010

A Call for Contributions for the December 2010 Edition of Parity: Women and Homelessness

Post date: 10 October 2010
Deadline: 26 November 2010

This Call for Contributions has been developed by Domestic Violence Victoria, the, NSW Women’s Refuge Movement, Domestic Violence Resource Centre, WESNET and the Council to Homeless Persons.


This edition of Parity follows on from the November 2009 “Rethinking Domestic Violence and Homelessness” edition of Parity.

That edition opened up for critical examination and discussion of the policy, program and service nexus between domestic and family violence and its place within the wider discourse and national response to homelessness.

The December 2010 “Women and Homelessness” edition will of course examine, analyse
and discuss the role of domestic and family violence as arguably the single greatest cause of homelessness in Australia. Any examination of women and homelessness will have to give full weight and consideration to the role domestic and family violence plays in causing women’s homelessness.

On top of this and as is well known, the homelessness experienced by women escaping
family violence can directly and critically impact on their children.

So, when we talk about ‘women’s homelessness’ we are largely discussing children’s
homelessness as well because of the vast numbers of children accompanying their mothers in and around the service system. What can be done to address the independent support and recovery needs of children?

Research has demonstrated that the experience of homelessness as a child and a young
person can have impacts and implications for the life chances and trajectories of those affected. Ongoing and sometimes chronic homelessness in later life is only one of these potentially negative consequences.

This edition will examine, where relevant and possible, the Australian Government’s proposed National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children. The draft National Plan was announced by the Australian Labor Party during the 2010 Federal Election campaign. A commitment was given to move swiftly to gain agreement to the National Plan with the state and territory governments soon after forming government.

In addition, the December edition will also seek to examine, analyse and discuss many other themes and issues within the wider framework of “women and homelessness”.
For example, it is well documented that large numbers of women make use of the generalist homelessness and transitional housing systems. Likewise, recent research by Ludo McFerran has pointed to the growing problem of homelessness experienced by older women.

Some Questions and Issues for Discussion

These are just some of the themes and issues that are open for discussion in this edition of Parity.

• What does recent research tell us about the homelessness experienced by a diverse range of women? This includes women in families, single, younger and older women, women from Indigenous and NESB backgrounds and women in marginal housing and sub-standard forms of accommodation like rooming houses?
• What does the available research tell us about women’s experiences of violence during periods of homelessness?
• What are some of the key themes and issues in the national policy response to women experiencing domestic and family violence?
• What will be the key issues for consideration by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) when it meets to discuss adoption and implementation of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children? How will this marry with key State policy directions such as Victoria’s Plan to Prevent Violence against Women 2010–2020 or the Victorian Homelessness Strategy?
• There are many new program and service initiatives and responses to women escaping domestic and family violence, including initiatives that concurrently aim to reduce women and children’s homelessness. The NSW Staying Home Leaving Violence — A New Approach to Homelessness Prevention and the South Australian Family Safety Framework are but two examples. This edition of Parity provides an opportunity to examine and discuss these new programs and initiatives and assess the impact that they can have in responding to women’s homelessness.
• Providing refuge for women and children escaping violence has long been one of the central planks of responding to domestic/family violence, but is the traditional model of communal living the best way to accommodate women and children? What does best practice evidence tell us about refuge design in the 21st century? What needs to change to better meet women and children’s needs? What practices and policies should we retain from traditional refuge models?
• Economic independence is central to women’s decision-making about leaving violent relationships. What does the available research tell us about what supports are necessary for women at this critical stage? What programs exist to support women to gain economic autonomy and avoid poverty when re-establishing lives post violence?
• What are some of the issues and responses to meeting the needs of women from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) background who are at risk of homelessness as a result of domestic violence (DV)?
• We know that significant numbers of women without permanent Australian residency status enter — and are turned away from — the domestic/family violence service system every year. What responses are available to this particularly vulnerable group? What more needs to be done?
• What are the specific issues faced in understanding and responding to the needs of women with disabilities who experience domestic/family violence and homelessness?
• The Australian Government’s White Paper The Road Home proposes a “no exits into homelessness” policy for those leaving institutional care. What programs and initiatives have been developed to ensure that young women leaving care, women exiting prison and women leaving mental health care or hospital are not exited into homelessness? What more needs to be done?
• What are the specific issues faced in understanding and responding to the needs of older women in particular who experience long term or chronic homelessness?
• How are policy makers responding to the increasing number of young women experiencing homelessness? What are some examples of the early intervention programs designed to stop young women becoming homeless in the first place?
• What are some of the successful models that have been developed to respond to Aboriginal Women’s Homelessness?
• What are the issues for women experiencing homelessness in rural, regional and remote Australia? What are some of the policy and program responses to these issues?
• What is being done to prevent women from being forced to make use of sub-standard and often unsafe forms of crisis accommodation like some boarding and rooming houses? Given that these forms of accommodation are known as one of the main sites for initiating people into ongoing homeless subcultures, what needs to be done to prevent women from being forced to make use of these kinds of accommodation?
• What are some successful models of social housing for women in Australia and internationally? What issues informed the design of these models?

Contributing to this edition of Parity


All contributions are welcome and need to be submitted by Friday, 26th November, 2010.


All contributions should be submitted as MS Word attachments to an email addressed to
parity@chp.org.au Contributions are usually between 900 words, (single page) and 1800 words (double page). If additional space is required please contact the Parity Editor. Please send submissions as a MS Word attachment to parity@chp.org.au or ring (03) 9419 8699 to discuss. Images and artwork are welcome.


Feedback and input can be provided with drafts. If prospective contributors have any questions at all they should contact Noel Murray, Parity Editor at parity@chp.org.au or (03) 9419 8699.

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