SafeLives respond to government guidance on keeping survivors safe at home

31st October 2017

Yesterday, the government issued new guidance on how to support domestic abuse survivors to access long-term stable housing. We welcome the push to help women move on from refuge as soon as it's safe, so they can rebuild their lives independently. We know women only uproot themselves and their family to a new area when there simply is no other option -  the state must support them in getting back on their feet in their new community, not penalise them.

The perpetrator is the problem. He is 100% responsible for the abuse at home. And many survivors want him to be the one that 'leaves'. We must listen and respond to that and work with local areas to ensure they have the powers to remove the perpetrator from the home, through guidance (as set out in this consultation), through child protection legislation and in the shorter term, through DVPOs and other civil orders. 

Many survivors and their children want to stay safe at home. We need to support them to do this. We remain concerned that new exemptions of the Localism Act potentially only gives local authorities more difficulties and fewer solutions. If we can provide women with quality, effective and long-term support they may be able to stay in their own communities, rather than being forced to flee. We know only 8% of women who were supported by a qualified Idva went onto access refuge.

We must work together with specialists such as DAHA to ensure we are sharing best practice and information. We look forward to working with the government to help ensure that housing works for survivors and their children to be empowered and protected to live safely at home.

Read the government guidance on how to support survivors of domestic abuse access long-term stable housing. 

About SafeLives
We are a national charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, for good. We combine insight from services, survivors and statistics to support people to become safe, well and rebuild their lives. Since 2005, SafeLives has worked with organisations across the country to transform the response to domestic abuse, with over 60,000 victims at highest risk of murder or serious harm now receiving co-ordinated support annually. 
 
No one should live in fear. It is not acceptable, not inevitable, and together – we can make it stop.  
 
Every year, nearly two million people experience domestic abuse. For every person being abused, there is someone else responsible for that abuse: the perpetrator. And all too often, children are in the home and living with the impact. 
 
Domestic abuse affects us all; it thrives on being hidden behind closed doors. We must make it everybody’s business.  

For interviews or more information, please contact Penny East, Head of Communications at SafeLives, on 07818 593 562 or by emailing penny.east@safelives.org.uk