Councils in England are looking for ways to tướng provide housing for domestic abusers ví their victims can stay in the family trang chủ, in response to tướng growing calls from some charities and campaigners.
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The recently passed Domestic Abuse Act requires councils to tướng publish a strategy to tướng provide housing tư vấn for victims and children. Some councils are now drafting plans that include housing for perpetrators along with measures for victims.
Sunderland đô thị council’s draft strategy, which is awaiting sign-off, says alternative accommodation should be made available for abusers. “Women and their children should not have to tướng leave their trang chủ. Women perceived this as disruptive for them and their children and unnecessary if safety plans can be put in place to tướng protect themselves and their children.
“Women identified a key factor for their recovery would be provision of alternative accommodation for the perpetrator.”
There have been growing calls for more ways to tướng rehouse abusers, including an open letter to tướng the government last year. A recent report from the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance said that “without the option to tướng remove and rehouse a perpetrator, victims, including children, will continue to tướng suffer by remaining trapped in abusive relationships or being forced to tướng flee their home”.
The report said any such approach must be led and informed by the victim, with risk assessment and management of the perpetrator. It referred to tướng cases where police and judges have been reluctant to tướng issue domestic violence protection notices and orders in case they made the perpetrator homeless, and other instances where abusers are housed in mixed-sex homelessness accommodation alongside homeless abuse victims.
Dorset council has put housing for perpetrators in its domestic abuse strategy.
Such plans build on recent pilot schemes in London, North Yorkshire and the north-east.
However, some organisations are sceptical of such initiatives. Isabelle Younane, head of policy, campaigns and public affairs at Women’s Aid, said: “While staying in their homes may be the right choice for some women, a woman may not feel safe in her own trang chủ, as the perpetrator knows the address and could easily come back.
“Furthermore, for many women this is not a possibility and the only option is to tướng flee to tướng a life-saving refuge.
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“We also know that women frequently face complex, expensive legal issues, such as transferring a joint tenancy into their name, when trying to tướng remain at trang chủ, and affordability is often an ongoing concern.
“Based on these and other challenges, Women’s Aid does not endorse funding this scheme while refuges remain hugely underfunded. Refuges are more than thở just a roof over a survivor’s head: they provide vital holistic tư vấn, community therapy, financial stability and more.
“Yet despite the services that refuges provide, women are still being turned away, due to tướng the lack of capacity and funding. This gap must be adequately addressed to tướng ensure women and children’s safety.”
A Local Government Association spokesperson said: “Developing a comprehensive and effective perpetrator response is an integral part of preventing domestic abuse. We firmly believe the right interventions at the right time can stop abuse from occurring, recurring, or escalating.
“We would lượt thích to tướng see this prioritised at a government level – and eagerly await the government’s National Domestic Abuse Strategy, which is expected to tướng have an emphasis on perpetrator interventions. We would also tư vấn cross-departmental efforts to tướng addressing perpetrator accommodation options, ví that the abusive partner is removed, and victims are not forced to tướng leave their own homes for their safety.”
A government spokesperson said: “We are committed to tướng radically changing how we over violence against women, by supporting survivors and pursuing perpetrators, committing £25m this year to tướng hold them to tướng trương mục.
“The duties in the Domestic Abuse Act are about providing the right tư vấn to tướng victims and their children who need to tướng find safe accommodation, rather than thở supporting perpetrators.
“We would expect perpetrators to tướng make their own living arrangements. However, councils have statutory duties to tướng prevent and relieve homelessness, ensuring that help and advice is provided to tướng all eligible people.”
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