First to know, first to act
Safe Futures Foundation in partnership with Uniting Wesley successfully applied for funding to co-locate a family violence worker within the Homelessness Open Door service. Many women seeking homelessness assistance approach the open door service seeking housing following a relationship breakdown either immediately or after a number of months or years. Many of these women have experienced recent and long term family violence. The purpose of the co-located worker is to assist the crisis workers to recognise and respond to family violence issues, provide training on family violence responses and make a referral to the specialist agency if the women and children need support because of the family violence.
The project was funded by the Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation in 2016-218.
Jane presented at Uniting Wesley Homelessness Support Service as homeless after fleeing her home overnight and sleeping in her car due to family violence. The crisis team completed a referral with the client's consent to the Women's Advocate who provided emotional support to the client and completed a risk assessment and safety plan. Although there had been a long history of family violence in the relationship the client had not disclosed the violence to anyone and had, therefore, not made any reports to the police or been assisted by family violence services. The client had a health condition and also suffered from depression and anxiety. The crisis team were able to place the client in short term accommodation until the client's ex-partner left the property and she could move back in with additional safety measures. The Women's Advocate initially made referrals to Centrelink at UWHSS and to specialist family violence counselling and provided information about Intervention Orders to the client. The Women's Advocate continued to provide emotional and practical support to the client while she was engaged with UWHSS crisis team and once her housing situation had stabilised was able to refer the client to Safe Futures' Safe in Community program. Longer term case management could be provided for the client at Safe Futures, which minimised the need for the client to retell her story and allowed her to continue with a worker whom she had build a relationship with.