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Posted in: Tackling domestic violence
Good to see this topic being highlighted within the sector. Housing and domestic violence is becoming even more pressing with services at risk of losing funding and refuge provision being cut. Homelessness services face an increasing demand from people fleeing domestic violence, and in particular from women with complex needs such as substance use and mental health problems. Recent St Mungo’s research among our female residents revealed that 35 percent of women who had slept rough, left home to escape domestic violence.
As well as a cause of homelessness, domestic violence can unfortunately continue to be a feature of the relationships of men and women whether rough sleeping, living in hostels, or even once in move on accommodation.
In this context, it is important that the workforce in the housing and homelessness sector are able to provide appropriate support to those fleeing or experiencing domestic abuse, so they can feel safe in their accommodation and move forward with their lives.
We welcome the work of Peabody and Gentoo and Against Violence and Abuse (AVA) linked from this article that aims to do just that. At St Mungo’s we have reviewed and re-launched our Domestic Abuse Policy and rolled out a new internal training course in partnership with AVA. It is vital that our staff are confident and comfortable to pro-actively support residents with this issue.
This summer we’re making our annual Action Week about women and homelessness and launching a campaign called Rebuilding Shattered Lives to focus on what works for homeless and vulnerable women, including domestic violence support. We will be asking people to share best practice, innovations and ideas. We want to hear from women who’ve experienced good practice, staff in the sector and many others to create a really comprehensive Showcase of what works for women. We’ll be launching this showcase website next month, on 18 June, and focusing on nine themes over 18 months, from domestic violence to employment and skills, offending to families, children and relationships. In the meantime, for more information and contact details see http://www.mungos.org/women and we will also let Inside Housing and forum contributors know more about this campaign in the months ahead.
Esther Sample, St Mungo’s Women’s Strategy Coordinator