Council failed domestic violence victim - report
A council has been accused of maladministration after it failed to provide adequate support for a homeless woman fleeing domestic violence.
The Local Government Ombudsman found that Hounslow Council failed the woman on a number of counts and has called for the authority to pay her £500 and review its procedures.
In the report, issued today, Dr Jane Martin revealed that the woman and her two small children left her mother-in-law’s home – where she had been living for six years – due to domestic violence from her partner.
The woman moved to her mother’s home in east London and continued to take her children on a four-hour round trip to school in Hounslow.
She approached the council as homeless but was not offered temporary accommodation and was told it did not consider she had fled domestic violence and so it was reasonable for her to return to her mother-in-law’s home.
After a review request from the woman’s solicitor, the council overturned its ‘not homeless’ decision but never reached a decision on her new homelessness application.
The council instead referred her to its rent deposit scheme – which involves the council paying a returnable deposit of a month’s rent to a landlord.
The woman twice identified properties but the council failed to act, forcing the woman to borrow money and pay the deposit herself.
Dr Martin said: ‘She was staying in overcrowded conditions while making a four-hour round trip across London to get her children to school and continuing in employment.
‘She has made clear the impact this had on her and her children and I am very pleased she does now have more suitable local accommodation.’
The ombudsman found that the council failed on five counts and also called for it to refund the money it would have paid under the rent deposit scheme.
A Hounslow Council spokesperson said: ‘This is an unfortunate case and we accept the recommendations of the Local Government Ombudsman and will be reviewing procedures to reinforce our commitment to improving standards of service.’