Improving access to safe and stable housing options

Building momentum

The Royal Commission into Family Violence found that family violence is the number one cause of homelessness for women.

Understanding and responding effectively to the housing needs of victim survivors is key if we are to meet the reform’s ambition to ensure victim survivors are safe and supported to recover and thrive.

Meeting the housing needs of Victorians experiencing family violence is complex with each victim survivor bringing different needs and considerations.

While emergency accommodation may be the first response in a crisis, we know that many victim survivors want support to stay in their own homes.

The biggest trauma in your life is happening in what should be the safest place in your life, your home…

Victim Survivors' Advisory Council Rolling Action Plan consultation workshop August 2020

For those who can’t stay at home, they need assistance beyond short-term refuge. A stable home in a suitable location will help deliver the best outcomes: security and support to meet their needs for stable work and education.

Housing supports for someone experiencing family violence may include:

  • a safe and supported place to stay in an emergency
  • access to longer term social housing
  • financial assistance to keep or obtain a private rental
  • help to stay in their own home if they choose to

While the goal is to provide a pathway to stability so that families can move on with their lives, supporting victim survivors requires different responses at different stages.

Our priority is safety, whether that’s supporting victim survivors to stay at home or to leave.

It can be really challenging to know when is the right time to leave – when a woman has made that choice, it is essential to get her out.

If people in family violence situations don’t know that their physical needs like housing can be met, that traps them.

Victim Survivors' Advisory Council Rolling Action Plan consultation workshop August 2020

Our focus is now on:

  • continuing to minimise risk at points of crisis by supporting victim survivors to exit safely from a family violence situation
  • delivering the long-term solutions that will be most effective in re-establishing stability for victim survivors, including children

Some of the ways we will do this is to:

  • continue to replace our communal refuges with new core and cluster model refuges providing greater privacy and independence
  • increase support for victim survivors to stay in their own homes
  • build more new social housing homes

Progress since 2016

The key housing activities which have been delivered since the Royal Commission are grouped here into three areas.

Delivery to 2023

The main housing activities include new activity and continued delivery of the significant long-term housing investments announced over recent years.

This overview of our housing activities to 2023 is grouped into five areas.

Connecting housing across the reform

Connections across reform activity are building further strength into our delivery of housing solutions.


  • Services across family violence, homelessness and social housing are working collaboratively to provide holistic support to victim survivors where housing is considered in the context of their wider needs.

Perpetrators and people who use violence

  • Perpetrator-focused services are coordinating with housing providers to find alternative accommodation for perpetrators so more victim survivors can stay in the family home.

The Orange Door network

  • Flexible support packages available through The Orange Door network and other family violence services providers are providing tailored options for immediate assistance beyond temporary emergency accommodation.
  • $85.1 million over four years has been committed in the 2020/21 State Budget to continue providing flexible support packages.

MARAM and information sharing

  • Extending the Multi Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework to homelessness service providers will help identify, assess and manage family violence risk for people using their services.

Reform-wide priorities

Activities to deliver safe, stable and affordable housing are informed by our reform-wide priorities of intersectionality, Aboriginal self-determination and lived experience.


We are committed to meeting the needs of all Victorians when improving and expanding housing options. More housing options are already being delivered for people with disabilities, younger people, and large families.

    Intersectionality Overview

    Aboriginal self-determination

    Government need to do more than seek input from Aboriginal organisations into service design and response – they need to give over the systems, resources, power and authority. Community need to be in control of all aspects including delivering our own self-determined programs.

    Dhelk Dja workshop participant Rolling Action Plan consultation August 2020

    Consistent across all the family violence reforms, the principles of self-determination underpin housing responses to family violence. Aboriginal-led initiatives form a combination of specific family violence reform activity and broader government activity to address the housing needs of Aboriginal Victorians.

    Both contribute to better outcomes for Aboriginal family violence victim survivors and those who use violence.

    Aboriginal Self-Determination Overview

    Lived experience

    Embedding lived experience allows us to capture insights which only someone who has experienced family violence can provide.

    It supplements the data we collect and gives us a better understanding of what supports work. For example, victim survivors were consulted in the design for the new model of core and cluster refuges.

    Our housing workshop with the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council heard that moving to somewhere secure and private are the principle considerations in deciding when to exit.

    When you’ve lived through family violence and abuse, you actually live in a state of hyper-alertness for your own safety and that of your children…

    It’s really unfair or sad to be taking someone from an unsafe situation and placing them in another location where it still feels quite unsafe.

    Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council Rolling Action Plan consultation workshop August 2020

    We also heard that the sense of feeling unsafe never really goes away and hyper-vigilance becomes second nature.

    It emphasises the importance of providing a holistic response to victim survivors, not just a new roof.

    Listening to victim survivors

    We learnt that little things can make a big difference. During consultation for the Rolling Action Plan we heard one participant in a housing workshop say that in her community something as simple as a hot shower somewhere safe was an instant stress reliever.

    The video on this page tracks the five-year journey to open the Hope Street First Response Youth Service in Melton, in western Melbourne. A large proportion of the young people who go there will be escaping family violence.

    Young victim survivors were asked what they wanted in the new building. Their lived experience informed the design.

    The two things they asked for was really good wi-fi and a really nice bath.

    Emotional trauma and physical trauma can be a big part of their existence and just being able to crawl into a nice bath with a great outlook… is something they really said they wanted to be able to experience.

    Laurence Robinson Architect, Hope Street first response youth refuge July 2020

    Lived Experience Overview

    Measuring outcomes

    Family Violence Outcomes Framework

    Delivering the activities for this priority area will likely have the greatest impact in achieving outcomes against the following domains:

    Domains 2, 3 and 4