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New project a win-win for motels & family violence survivors

Accommodation Association leader applauds The Motels Project for providing safe spaces for vulnerable women and children

Family violence is a major health and welfare issue in Australia, occurring across all socioeconomic groups but a new project in Victoria aims to help foster ongoing partnerships between accommodation providers and FV agencies.

A report released by the Paul Ramsay Foundation and the University of Technology Sydney last year found  46,700 women moved out of home during temporary separation from a violent partner in 2016. While most stayed with friends and family, more than 22 percent stayed in a refuge, and 12 percent slept rough.

However, many women were unable to leave despite wanting to, citing the fact they had nowhere to go as a barrier.

The enormity of the issue has left family violence response agencies struggling to meet demand, with a lack of refuges leaving vulnerable women and children without a safe space.

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Motels and hotels have historically been used as short-term emergency accommodations by community service providers. However, this has often been in an ad-hoc arrangement without clear policies and procedures.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

In Victoria’s Bayside Peninsula region, the Salvation Army’s Motels Project is hoping to change this for the better and help foster ongoing partnerships between accommodation providers and FV agencies.

Louise Sheehan has been running the project in the Bayside Peninsula region focusing on the use of motels and hotels as emergency accommodations for community services sectors. 

She told us: “In particular, we have focused on the family violence sector and the placement of women and children in motels and hotels when they are escaping violence.”

As a market segment, the FV sector can also provide a significant income stream for many motels and hotels. In the Bayside Peninsula alone, three FV agencies have an annual spend of over $500,000 on motels and hotels

The Motels Project has created a framework of clear policies and procedures to foster a well-managed relationship between accommodation providers and FV agencies.

Additionally, the project provides training for accommodation providers and increased client engagement to ensure both parties are well-supported.

National Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO Michael Johnson said the project was a win-win for both parties.

“This a good opportunity for our motels and hotels to be able to support the FV community whilst also helping lift occupancy,” he said.

“Motels and hotels are still trading to recover from the downturns of Covid lockdowns and government restrictions.

“This partnership is definitely a win-win!”

For FV agencies and survivors, the project has the ability to provide a significant increase in available crisis accommodation. For accommodation providers, there is the opportunity to access an additional income stream while providing a safe space for vulnerable members of the community.

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