Survivors of family violence are often left with limited housing options once they leave the relationship. PCLC have seen many examples of women settling for less than half the joint property value where assets are held only in the name of their partner and the women are unaware of their legal rights over the property. At least 5% of our family law clients in the past year came to us with evidence of property ownership, but none were able to retain this post financial settlement and were often forced into seeking social housing.
Through a pilot program completed earlier this year, PCLC assisted women affected by family violence to access a more equitable share of assets. During the pilot, a total of 43 women were assisted, with 20 receiving ongoing support and a monetary benefit of $1,177,673 resulting in significant financial stability to the families involved. While PCLC is continuing to provide legal assistance to a small number of women with small pool property claims, at present we only have limited ability to assist.
PCLC is advocating for additional funding for legal and financial planning support for women who have survived family violence and are in the process of financial separation. PCLC is also advocating that the federal government makes good on a pre-election promise to establish a shared equity scheme to help people on moderate incomes to secure home loans with the government taking a stake in the property, and that these women be targeted as priority beneficiaries.