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Alcohol and other drug use, homelessness and family and domestic violence

Alcohol and drug use is frequently linked with domestic and family violence, for perpetrators and victims alike. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) explored the degree to which AOD and homelessness overlap for people living through family and domestic violence (AIHW, 2018). AIHW identified almost 40,000 clients who used both alcohol and other drug treatment services and specialist homelessness services (SHS). As shown in the following figure, more than 13,000 clients reported experiencing family and domestic violence.

Of these clients, 73% were female and 27% male. One-third (33%) of the female clients and nearly one-third (31%) of the male clients were Indigenous. Nearly two in five (37%) were living alone and only one in fourteen (7%) was employed. (AIHW, 2018).

Characteristics of clients who experienced domestic and family violence and used both alcohol and drug treatment and homelessness services, 2011-12 to 2013-14 (AIHW, 2016).


Refer to the practice kit Domestic and family violence to broaden your understanding of the Safe and Together model, and to learn how to effectively partner with mothers experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV). Plan to safely talk with mothers about DFV when talking with them about AOD use. While DFV may not seem apparent at first, a mother and her children may be living with DFV which can continue to go unaddressed if all interventions are focused on a mother's AOD use only.

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