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Violence is driving more people out on the streets


Rough choice: One of the many people regularly sleeping rough in central Brisbane. Photo: Mark Bowling

AN increasing number of people who are homeless and seeing support services are doing so to flee family and domestic violence, a Federal Government agency says.

A report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows 279,000 people sought homelessness services in 2015-16, with two in five people seeking help for domestic and family violence reasons.

“This is a thirty-three per cent increase since 2011-12, when the collection (of data) began, and a fourteen per cent increase since 2014-15,” AIHW spokeswoman Anna Ritson said.

“It is important to note that increases in client numbers generally reflect the increased availability and accessibility of services, not necessarily a change in the underlying level of homelessness or domestic and family violence in Australia,” Ms Ritson said.

In Queensland, on any single day in the past year, 2500 people slept the night in crisis accommodation, and 2100 clients of homelessness services reported having slept rough in the past month.

Overall, the AIHW report showed housing affordability continued to be a significant factor for those accessing homelessness services – about 60 per cent of clients identified housing affordability and financial difficulties as a reason for seeking assistance, and this has remained fairly steady for the past three years.

Only one in three intimate-partner assaults were reported to the police.

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