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Thursday, 26 November 2015
Page: 13945

Ms HALL (ShortlandOpposition Whip) (09:55): As we all know, yesterday was White Ribbon Day, and I am sure many of us received contacts from our constituents. One of the constituents who contacted me had her story told in the Newcastle Herald. She asked me to raise a particular issue, and that is how the lack of accommodation prevents victims of domestic violence from moving out of the situation they are in so that they can turn the situation around and change their lives. For 18 months this particular woman was forced to live under her house. She lived with her husband, her mother and her child. She just disappeared: she went under her house and lived in appalling conditions; she would wait until her husband went to work and then sneak back inside, have breakfast, shower and go off to work herself. She did this, as I said, for 18 months. She tried on numerous occasions to move into private rental accommodation. The house she was living in was actually in her name. She was the person who was responsible for paying the mortgages. As with many similar cases, she started to blame herself, thinking that maybe this was her fault. She thought, 'If I'm very quiet and he does not notice me and he cannot find me, my mother and my child will be safe.' So, one day she decided to simply vanish, and that is how she did it.

After a period of time she decided enough was enough. As I said, she had tried to find rental accommodation. She had looked at all of her options in the community, but there were no options. In the end, she moved back into her house and changed the locks, and her husband could not enter the house. He abused her, sent her text messages and all of the usual things that we all hear about. She said to me that she is not a victim and she is stronger, but she has implored me to raise the issue in parliament of the need for affordable accommodation to help those who are victims of violence to move from that situation into safety. We, as members of parliament, have to do better. We do not want a situation where people continue to live in violent situations because they do not have safe accommodation. (Time expired)