On the 2nd May, the Secretary for State for Housing, Robert Jenrick MP, announced that victims would receive the 'priority need status that they need to access local housing'. This now ensures councils now have a legal duty to help.
This is a brilliant moment for the #ASafeHome campaign, lead by Crisis and supported by the Homelessness APPG and many brave survivors speaking out we have successfully ensured people fleeing domestic abuse have a legal priority to accomodation.
This is not the end of the road for the campaign. Many victims amid the COVID-19 outbreak are urgently requiring safe accomodation and we now have to ensure this is urgently provided.
Today I can confirm that, through the domestic abuse bill, the Government will also be ensuring that the victims of domestic violence get the priority need status that they need to access local housing services much more easily.
Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government
2nd May, 2020
#ASafeHome - THE CAMPAIGN
Homelessness and domestic abuse are inextricably linked to one another, government and local council policy prior to this campaign forced victims to go to great lengths to prove their abuse to local councils to receive priority housing, in some cases councils requested a letter from the perpetrator confirming the abuse. This not only put victims lives at risk, it meant if they wanted to flee they would have to make themselves homeless or stay in danger.
The #ASafeHome campaign lead by Crisis sought to remove this requirement and ensure victims received automatic priority for safe permanent accommodation, ensuring the step to seek safe future.
Domestic abuse victims need #ASafeHome.
I am partnering with Crisis to ask that people fleeing domestic abuse are considered a priority for housing.
23:15, Friday, 13th March 2020
Domestic abuse is inextricably linked with housing, as most abuse often occurs in the home. Many people who experience domestic abuse often find themselves facing the very serious risk of homelessness if they are to flee the perpetrators.
There has also been a reduction in the number of refuge spaces available to provide temporary safe space for survivors. Research carried out in 2017 found that one in six refuges had closed down since 2010.
The point of separation is the time when women face the greatest risk of homicide from the perpetrator. We must challenge the current legislation under which many survivors are not seen as a priority for settled accommodation as they are not deemed vulnerable enough.
The draft Domestic Abuse Bill should be amended so that it provides for anyone who becomes homeless as a result of fleeing domestic abuse to be given automatic priority need for housing, without having to be subject to a further test to determine that they are more vulnerable than an ‘ordinary person facing homelessness’.
Click the PDF link below to read the Crisis campaign report.
Some 60% of women are turned away from refuges because there is not enough space.
Research by Crisis found that 61% of homeless females and 16% of homeless males had experienced violence and/or abuse from a partner