It will now become harder for domestic violence victims to find safe and affordable accommodation.
It will now become harder for domestic violence victims to find safe and affordable accommodation.

How DV victims will be forced to stay with their abuser

Women could soon be trapped between a rock and a hard place - a violent relationship or life in dodgy accommodation - when the National Rental Affordability Scheme starts winding down in December.

One refuge spokeswoman has warned that almost all of its women and children will be in dire straits.

"Since 2015, we've helped about 175 women affected by domestic violence and all of them - except one - moved from us into NRAS accommodation," Felicity Dearlove, a president of My Friends' Place said.

She said winding down the NRAS would have a massive, negative impact on DV victims across the city.

"I just don't know what these women and their children will do now. They just can't afford private rentals."

Vicky Rose, of the Nerang Neighbourhood Centre, agreed and said women would be forced to stay in violent relationships.

"They know they won't be able to support their families without schemes like the NRAS," she said.

Nerang Neighbourhood Centre co-ordinator Vicky Rose. Pic Tim Marsden
Nerang Neighbourhood Centre co-ordinator Vicky Rose. Pic Tim Marsden

"It helped these women maintain their independence, so dropping it will have a huge impact in the domestic violence space. I don't want to imagine what that will look like for these women."

Mrs Dearlove said the overwhelming majority of women assisted by My Friends' Place were already on a long waiting list for Department of Housing accommodation.

"They usually go on to this list for a few years. I have no idea what will happen to them now if don't have access to NRAS housing," she said.

The refuge has houses across the length of the Gold Coast - all at secret locations - and all of them are full.

It will now become harder for domestic violence victims to find safe and affordable accommodation.
It will now become harder for domestic violence victims to find safe and affordable accommodation.

"We are choc-a-bloc at the moment and it's been like this for the past six months," Mrs Dearlove said.

"We've had an influx of women coming to us. I think women on the Gold Coast, particularly those with children, are getting desperate."

DV victims assisted by Mr Friends' Place have no time limit on their stay - the average duration is eight or nine months.

"Some are with us for over a year," she said.

The NRAS offered rentals at 20 per cent below market rates and will conclude fully in June 2026, as the last properties reach their 10-year subsidy expiry. The first properties will leave the scheme next month.

The move will directly impact some of the Gold Coast's most vulnerable renters with more than 600 homes in the region in the scheme.

The NRAS helped lots of people but particularly families and women who had escaped domestic violence and had moved through the refuge system.
The NRAS helped lots of people but particularly families and women who had escaped domestic violence and had moved through the refuge system.

Vicky Rose, of the Nerang Neighbourhood Centre, said the NRAS helped lots of people but particularly families and women who had escaped domestic violence and had moved through the refuge system.

"These women will have to live on their benefits on market rates, which is not really an option for anyone," she said.

She was very concerned women in violent relationships would have no option by to stay in them, putting their lives at risk.