Homeless victims of domestic violence, particularly women and children, are surging as rental prices continue to rise across the south east of Australia, support workers have said.

They added that the increased demand for social services and lack of suitable housing have strained women’s refuges and the public housing system, compromising the amount of long-term support to the victims.

Data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show about 15% of women named domestic violence as the main reason they sought support from specialist homelessness agencies from 2012 to 2013.

Mirjana Wilson, executive director of the ACT Domestic Violence Crisis Service, said Australia’s high cost of living and rental prices meant most domestic violence victims in need of accommodation were funnelled into public housing, which was unsustainable.

“I am aware that Housing ACT is trying to explore other options but we just have such high numbers, it's a huge social issue and it's complex,” Wilson was quoted as saying in The Canberra Times.

She added that victimised women “then end up having to manage a mortgage, finance, childcare and all those things she might have relied on a partner for”.