Safe at Home: Domestic abuse and housing providers

The case for a response to domestic abuse by housing providers

Housing providers are in a unique position to be able to identify domestic abuse, support victims of abuse and hold perpetrators to account. Domestic abuse has also been estimated to create housing costs of £160 million per year – even before taking into account issues such as debts left by perpetrators in case of financial abuse.

This research, undertaken with Gentoo Group in Sunderland, explores the case for support. It considers victims’ experiences as well as an analysis of rent arrears, repair and other costs and a literature review. It concludes with recommendations for steps housing providers can take to help identify abuse and provide support.


If [the housing officer] was just a stranger and I’d only seen her once in two years, I wouldn’t have told.


Key findings

In the case of Gentoo, we found:

  • approximately 13% of all repairs jobs and 21% of all repair costs were potentially related to domestic abuse, costing Gentoo £8.4 million
  • costs associated with evicting tenants who may be hidden victims of domestic abuse and re-letting the property, up to £5,700 per eviction
  • costs associated with dealing with perpetrators of domestic abuse and their behaviour, on average £330 per perpetrator

A few housing providers including Gentoo have a developed offer of support including onsite specialist services. This enables:

  • early identification of victims of domestic abuse by trained staff
  • improved ability of victims of abuse to access effective support quickly near their homes
  • reduction of the length of time that victims suffer from domestic abuse
  • strengthened ability of victims to stay in their homes safely; reducing disruption to education and preventing homelessness

Read the full report and findings for recommendations which could strengthen the response to domestic abuse by housing providers, save money and improve the outcomes for the most vulnerable families affected by domestic abuse.


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