Australia

An affordable housing shortage is killing Indigenous women, a new report has found

Remote Indigenous housing in the Northern Territory. Source: AAP

Indigenous women are more likely to die or suffer injuries from family violence than non-indigenous women due to a lack of safe housing, a new study shows.

Indigenous Australian women suffering from family violence are at greater risk of being killed and injured due to a lack of safe housing and are also more likely to lose custody of their children.

A new study from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute examined the needs of Indigenous women and children in the aftermath of domestic violence.

The research found a shortage of emergency and long-term housing in remote areas meant Indigenous women often had no choice but to return to an unsafe home.

A women's shelter in Alice Springs.
A women's shelter in Alice Springs.
AAP

Lead researcher Kyllie Cripps said women who fail to find long-term, stable housing within a year risk losing their children permanently.

Echoes of the stolen generation make Indigenous women particularly anxious about the consequences.

"This is exacerbated by the hopelessness they feel in being unable to secure long-term housing ... through no fault of their own," Dr Cripps said.

The shortage also affects perpetrators of violence, making them more likely to return to the family home or be made homeless.

Dr Cripps said family violence among Indigenous communities required a holistic response.

"Providing services to women and children in isolation to the men is, at best, a bandaid solution of limited long-term effectiveness," she said.

The report, to be presented at a National Housing Conference in Darwin on Thursday, urges the federal and state governments to include more Indigenous voices in housing policies.

It also recommends including housing under family violence targets within the annual Closing the Gap campaign.

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