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More Australians in need as cost of living sees donations drop

2 min read
cost of living

Child and family services organisation Berry Street is deeply concerned more children will be without a safe home this winter, with domestic violence leading to high levels of child trauma and homelessness across Victoria. 

The well-documented domestic violence issues around the country are creating a legacy of violence and abuse that is difficult to break. 

Berry Street’s Executive Director, Heidi Reid, said it was more than a family and domestic violence crisis affecting women and me. 

“This is a crisis for the future generation. Children remain the unrecognised and voiceless victims of family violence. When there is a child involved, they experience the violence firsthand and are significantly impacted, even if the violence is not directed at them.” 

With the number of children in out-of-home care increasing by more than 20 per cent in the last four years, the current system is stretched beyond capacity.  

Berry Street is desperately seeking donations to expand its Teaching Family Model, giving children a better understanding of normal family relationships. 

The ‘Teaching Family Model’ provides a safe home for up to four children who have been impacted by violence and abuse. They live with carers and build on their problem-solving skills, learning how to interact with others in a supportive home environment.  

As the cost of living continues to increase the costs of providing frontline care, women and children in the domestic violence crisis will be impacted, further entrenching the cycle of trauma. 

“We have children waiting for a home right now who desperately need wraparound care and support to recover from the violence they have experienced.” 

A chilling reality is unfolding in Australia as the number of children without homes continues to rise this winter.  

One in seven people experiencing homelessness are children under the age of 12. Even more alarming, 40 per cent of homeless people are children or young people. An estimated two out of five people considered to be homeless are under 24 years old, highlighting the vulnerability of the younger population in the face of this crisis. 

Family violence stands out as the leading cause of homelessness for women and children. In 2021-22, 39 per cent (or 108,000) of people seeking help from specialist homelessness services had experienced domestic and family violence.  

This statistic underscores the dire need for support systems and interventions for those affected by such violence. 

Furthermore, the situation for children in out-of-home care is equally concerning. More than 46,000 kids are currently in out-of-home care across Australia, while there are just over 9,000 foster care homes available.  

This significant gap between the number of children in need and the available foster care homes highlights the urgent requirement for more resources and support for the foster care system in the country. 

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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