Domestic Violence — Housing and Social Security Legal Help

Who are we?

Domestic violence can have a big impact on your housing situation and can cause problems with Centrelink and Public Housing.

Canberra Community Law is a specialist legal service that can provide free advice and assistance with Public Housing and Centrelink. We also have a dedicated service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients.

Public Housing

Experiencing domestic violence can have a big impact on your housing situation. Getting into public housing can be difficult.

If you are already a public housing tenant, you may need to move properties or you may have a debt if your partner has damaged the property.

Some examples of common housing issues for people experiencing domestic violence include:

  • Problems getting into public housing
  • Problems getting a transfer
  • Housing repair debts

Social Security (Centrelink)

Domestic violence can cause problems with Centrelink. These problems can occur for many reasons, including:

  • the way that Centrelink calculates your income and assets
  • whether Centrelink think you are a member of a couple
  • any rules that affect whether you can apply for a payment

Some examples of common Centrelink and social security issues for people escaping domestic violence include:

  • Claims refused because of a partner’s income
  • Debt recovery because Centrelink thinks you have been overpaid
  • Problems with Parenting Payment and Family Tax Benefit
  • Not being able to claim Centrelink because of a compensation preclusion period

How can we help?

We can provide you with free legal advice on your situation and the options you have.

In some cases, we may also be able to:

  • Talk to Housing ACT or Centrelink on your behalf
  • Help you to make an application for public housing or Centrelink
  • Help you to appeal decisions
  • Represent you in the Tribunal

Getting in touch with us:

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Social Security and Housing Law

Phone: (02) 6218 7900

Download brochure

Domestic Violence — Housing and Social Security Legal Help Brochure (PDF, 2.4MB)

Dhurrawang Aboriginal Human Rights ProgramLegal advice and assistance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT on housing, Centrelink and race discrimination issues on (02) 6218 7900.

We also have a series of factsheets on common problems faced by people in public housing and common issues with Centrelink. These are available from our office (on request) and can be found on our website at

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Canberra Community Law acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work in the ACT and surrounding region and pay our respects to the Ngunnawal elders past, present and future for they hold the stories, traditions, and the cultures of their people. We are grateful that we share this land and express our sorrow for the costs of this sharing to Australia’s First Peoples. We will continue to acknowledge the legacy of our history and strive in our goals to empower our community through social justice. We hope that our efforts will continue to a realisation of equity, justice and partnership with Traditional Custodians of this land.

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