From Shelter to Security: An Exploration of Crisis Accommodation

Project Details

Part 1: Mapping the riskscape of using privately-owned short-term lets for specialist family violence crisis accommodation.

COVID-19 has generated many problems and some opportunities in the housing market. The potential role of privately-owned short-term lets meeting specialist family violence crisis accommodation demand is one such opportunity. This research engages with an important and increasing practice in the Australian context, of the utilisation of private housing stock as a component part of a public housing crisis response system, in this case explored in relation to domestic and family violence. In seeking to gain insights into the feasibility of this practice, the research first framed mixed public/private accommodation provision as potentially overlapping relations between a thin territory of insufficient crisis infrastructure and a thick territory of commodified short-term let infrastructure. Second, the research explored the potential of this intersection of mixed private/public responses in terms of riskscapes by unpacking how risk is perceived within these contested territories. The findings highlight tensions between both real and perceived understandings of safety, housing, wellbeing, economic and political risks. While there was some support for utilising short-term lets for crisis accommodation, barriers were revealed to adding thickness to the crisis accommodation space. Given increasing homelessness in Australia, diversifying crisis models could offer increased violence-prevention infrastructure to support women.


Martino, E & Bentley, R. (2021) Mapping the riskscape of using privately-owned short-term lets for specialist family violence crisis accommodation, International Journal of Housing Policy, DOI: 10.1080/19491247.2021.2002658

Part 2: A Matter of Life and Death: fostering a safe crisis accommodation landscape.

There is a crisis within crisis accommodation in Australia whereby victim-survivors of domestic and family violence cannot access safe accommodation and services. To delve into the impact of this disaster in Victoria, victim-survivors were interviewed about their journeys through the crisis accommodation services landscape. Interpretation of preliminary research findings adopted interview-based graphic storytelling and participatory dissemination to produce a comic zine. Findings depicted in the comic zine highlight that women are forced to navigate a system of scarcity and neglect; and that specifically, poor housing support, design and access can re-traumatise and further marginalise women. In leveraging these insights, the comic zine suggests a path towards individual recovery starts with the healing of our crisis response system through better funding and resourcing, more diverse housing and service options, and a collaborative support system based on respect, trust, and inclusion.

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This project received funding from the Hallmark Research Initiative for Affordable Housing and the Melbourne Disability Institute.

Project period

2019 – 2022


Erika Martino

Research Group

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Health Policy

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