Client Experiences of Emergency Assistance Services

Tanya MacKay, Ian Goodwin-Smith

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More people are requiring emergency assistance on a regular basis, placing a significant burden on service providers. However, there is little literature on client perceptions of emergency assistance, and whether their needs are being met. This study aimed to address this gap by interviewing people who had recently sought emergency assistance in South Australia. Sixteen people (nine women) aged between 27 and 55 participated in this study. Participants reported that they were seeking assistance (mainly food) due to bills, particularly relating to electricity, but also telephone, gas and car registration. Most people had their needs met to some extent, but many said that they had received insufficient or inappropriate food. Recommendations were provided around establishing compulsory service standards and partnerships, and reviewing the types of assistance provided (e.g. providing vouchers and healthy food parcels).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-63
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Social Inclusion
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Emergency assistance
  • Emergency relief
  • Social inclusion
  • Social services
  • Wrap around services


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