"Is there really help for women victims of domestic violence?"

Alecomm staff have recently done trials on how hard it is (or not) for women who are victims of domestic violence to obtain assistance and leave the situation.  What we learnt from this trial is that it is virtually impossible for any woman or mother to leave the home unless she is financially viable.

For most women, actually being able to walk out the door IS the hardest step.  But you would think that after that, because we dont live in a third world country, that the services would be ready there to prevent you from being homeless or going through any further bullying.  Right?  Wrong!

Unless you have cash and have a home ready to move into, you are going to be homeless.  So your next call is going to be to the Department of Housing.  This is where we learnt some very valuable, yet disturbing, information.

You would think that after they have established that you are in need of emergency accomodation because you have removed yourself and or your children from an abusive situation, that departmental staff would be empathetic and understanding of how big a step you have just made and make it easy.

What we learnt in fact was that the Department of Housing staff are well trained to identify for the Department of Community Services and will then proceed to ask you a thousand questions about their situation.  Do you have transport?  Are you sleeping in the car?  How long have you been homless?  Are you going to return to the home?  

Etc etc etc.  The list goes on.

And so this is where the government forces the victim of domestic violence to return to the abuse.  How can a mother openly discuss what is happening in her life with somebody she merely needs accomodation from, particulary in NSW where they are entitled to twenty eight days a year.

One would think that the statement "I am leaving domestic violence" would be enough and that would be that, accommodation services provided.

This is not what happens.  Unless you answer all the delving and probing questions that can and do get forwarded to the Department of Community Services, you do not get the assistance of emergency accommodation.  In fact, you do not get any accommodation at all.

It seems to staff here that the Department of Housing has many specific questions to ask in order for them to assist the NSW Department of Community Services in building a case wherefor they then remove your children.

In essence, it seems, that the government does not want women to escape violence because they do not simply let it happen.

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