Steve McCabe MP, Birmingham Selly Oak and Women’s Aid Federation of England (‘Women’s Aid’) are calling for oversight of exempt accommodation to protect vulnerable women and children.
Steve McCabe MP met with Women’s Aid to hear their concerns about the growing number of exempt accommodation providers housing victims of domestic violence without any expertise or experience, and in some cases basic risk assessment and safeguarding measures. Women’s Aid have expressed concern about the lack of tailored support vulnerable women and children are getting in these properties. Women’s Aid are also concerned that providers are profiting from providing inadequate and potentially unsafe accommodation.
In November 2020, Steve introduced his Supported Accommodation Bill which will legislate for proper checks on the support provided by these registered providers, a fit and proper check on potential landlords and the standard of accommodation to ensure all tenants are safe and receive appropriate supported. Steve’s Bill is due its Second Reading on 15 January and is supported by a cross party group of MP’s.
Steve McCabe MP said:
“This week I met with Women’s Aid to hear their concerns about domestic violence victims being placed in unregulated Supported Accommodation. It is clear that domestic violence victims need not only safe housing but also tailored support. At the moment too many dodgy landlords are receiving public money to provide support that is basically nonexistent, we need set standards to ensure no vulnerable women or children are trapped in unsafe housing. My Supported Accommodation Bill will seek to provide much needed oversight to this sector.”
Lucy Hadley, Head of Policy & Campaigns at Women’s Aid said:
“We are highly concerned about the safety of women and children escaping domestic abuse who are being housed in unsafe and unsuitable forms of exempt accommodation. Our national network of members deliver specialist refuges, which provide far more than a ‘roof’ for survivors of domestic abuse; they are services that provide safety and expert support to meet the needs of women and children escaping abuse and trauma. Our member services are seriously concerned that survivors living in such accommodation will be at risk of further harm, exploitation and deprivation and are calling for action. We hope the government listens to calls for oversight, and strengthens the Domestic Abuse Bill to ensure that survivors escaping abuse can access the specialist refuges they need.”
If you are experiencing domestic violence you can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free on 0808 2000 247. In an emergency please call 999