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Plans and Policies

Domestic Violence Crisis Accommodation Functional Design Brief

Mother watching children playing
Mother watching children playing

Best-practice guidelines for the design of crisis accommodation

The first of its kind in NSW, the NSW Government’s Domestic Violence Crisis Accommodation Functional Design Brief provides best-practice guidelines for the design of crisis accommodation.

The guidelines will support the construction and community housing sectors to design and deliver refuges that are safe and secure, and provide an environment where women and children fleeing domestic and family violence can begin to heal.

Download the Domestic Violence Crisis Accommodation Functional Design Brief (PDF, 1802.31 KB)

Our recommendations: Flexible, family friendly spaces

Traditionally, refuges have been relatively communal, with women and children sharing spaces. However, there has been a shift in thinking throughout the sector nationally, transitioning away from communal accommodation to a ‘core and cluster’ model of crisis accommodation.

The core and cluster model typically consists of a ‘cluster’ of separate, self-contained residences or units that are linked to a ‘core’ communal area accommodating onsite support.

The guidelines focus on delivering flexible, family friendly spaces that promote wellbeing and healing. Recommendations include:

  • greater privacy, safety and independence
  • quiet rooms for prayer or meditation
  • dedicated spaces for children of all ages
  • gardens and pet-friendly courtyards
  • increased connection between internal living spaces and the garden
  • greater ability to provide flexibility for families of varying sizes
  • opportunities to partner with local council to deliver safe and secure parking.

The guidelines were developed by the NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) and Government Architect NSW (GANSW) in consultation with the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) and relevant peak bodies, community housing providers and specialist homelessness providers.

Read the feedback from our engagement sessions (PDF, 149.87 KB).

Confidential advice, support and referrals

Domestic and family violence is a leading cause of homelessness among women and children. In 2020-21, almost 40 per cent of the people who accessed specialist homelessness services in NSW had experienced domestic abuse.

Aboriginal women living in rural and remote areas are also up to 45 times more likely to experience family violence than other Australian women living in rural and remote areas.

The NSW Government delivers a range of services, including housing assistance, to help women and children escape domestic and family violence.

For more information, read answers to frequently asked questions.

Download the Domestic Violence Crisis Accommodation Functional Design Brief (PDF, 1802.31 KB).