- Join Got Your Back Sista and stand up to domestic violence at the Newcastle Knights versus Canterbury Bulldogs NRL game on July 12. Register at https://www.mycause.com.au/events/2019gybsknights
THE SUPPLY of accommodation for women fleeing domestic violence may never be enough to meet the level of demand, without society and the government changing its responses to the problem.
That's the warning from Nova For Women and Children chief executive Kelly Hansen, who said domestic violence was the leading reason why women at risk of or experiencing homelessness approach her organisation.
She said the proportion who said violence was the main reason they needed help had increased in the past year from 25.5 to 40.2 per cent in Lake Macquarie and from 32.8 to 36.6 per cent in Newcastle.
"It's always been there but I think women are more likely to present with domestic violence because we're talking about it more," she said.
"But I'm also sure some women don't disclose. I particularly think that happens for older women, there's a shame feeling for them. But it comes out later."
She said NOVA had two crisis accommodation properties that could each house five families, as well as transitional housing for four families and seven single women.
She said staff have to tell women "every day and quite a few times a day" there are no beds and then refer to other providers and motels.
"It's not enough," she said.
"I don't know if anything will ever be enough unless we address the structural issues here.
Women are trying to reach a better life but have all these barriers.
"We advocate hard and we work with government agencies to try and rectify structural issues, like making sure they're on the housing register and get Centrelink, but the government is not increasing housing stock.
There are subsidies for housing but for private rental, which they have to find first.
"If we want women to be independent there needs to be jobs and they need to be well paying.
"We need policies on the gender pay gap and... the casualised workforce."