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Domestic violence and homelessness Spotlight on: Homeless Women - 20th June John Bentham Homelessness and Support Division Department for Communities and.

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Presentation on theme: "Domestic violence and homelessness Spotlight on: Homeless Women - 20th June John Bentham Homelessness and Support Division Department for Communities and."— Presentation transcript:

1 Domestic violence and homelessness Spotlight on: Homeless Women - 20th June John Bentham Homelessness and Support Division Department for Communities and Local Government

2 Today Latest homelessness trends DCLG domestic violence research Ministerial Working Group on Homelessness Working together

3 Accommodation plays an important role The dynamics of domestic violence mean that accommodation can play an important role in the resolution of interpersonal violence and conflict. It is the foundation to ensuring that adult and child victims are afforded safety and security. The homelessness legislation in England provides one of the strongest safety nets in the world for families with children and vulnerable people who become homeless through no fault of their own In 2010/11 1,410 households were accepted by local housing authorities in England as being owed a main homelessness duty where a household member was vulnerable because of domestic violence (3%). In 2010/11 5,930 households were owed a main homelessness duty, by Reason for Loss of Last Settled Home relationship break down with partner (violent) 13%

4 Domestic Violence is a devastating crime It impacts across all communities: Domestic violence accounts for 18% of all violent incidents (crime in England and Wales 2010/11) In 2010/11, 21 men (5%) and 93 women (52%) were killed by a partner, ex- partner or lover. Seven per cent of women and five per cent of men reported having experienced domestic abuse in 2010/11 equivalent to an estimated 1.2 million female victims of domestic abuse and 800,000 male victims. Twenty-four per cent of women and 12 per cent of men reported having experienced such abuse since the age of 16 The total cost of domestic violence to services amounts to £3.8 billion and the cost to the economy is £1.9 billion. An additional element is the human and emotional cost. Domestic violence leads to pain and suffering that is not counted in the cost of services. This amounts to around £10 billion a year

5 Domestic violence related homelessness Households accepted as owed the main homelessness duty by priority need category (domestic violence) and reason for loss of last settled home (relationship breakdown violent) - England

6 Homelessness acceptances Homeless Acceptances

7 Age profile of homelessness acceptances Homelessness acceptances by age: June 2009 March 2012

8 Female lone parent households Percentage of homeless acceptances made up of female lone parent households for London and England Percentage of female lone parent households accepted as owed the main homelessness duty for England and London

9 One person female households Percentage of one person female households accepted as owed the main homelessness duty for London and England

10 Single person households London Homeless single person households accepted as owed the main homelessness duty in London (male and female)

11 Homelessness and domestic violence in London and England Percentage of households accepted as owed the main homelessness duty where household member is vulnerable as a result of domestic violence - London and England

12 Loss of last settled home Reason for loss of last settled home – relationship breakdown violent for London and England

13 Loss of last settled home Reason for loss of last settled home – breakdown of perpetrator

14 Why did we conduct this research? Concerns from stakeholders that single women without dependent children were not getting the housing assistance they required to stop them returning to a violent situation. Concerns that there is insufficient accommodation and support for survivors of domestic abuse. Concerns that Sanctuary Schemes were making survivors ‘prisoners in their own homes’ & some security measures were inadequate.

15 Assistance for adults without dependant children Research project 1 - assistance for adults without dependant children The aim of this research was to establish the extent to which adults who are neither pregnant nor who have dependant children and who have to leave their homes due to domestic violence are getting the help they need from local authorities to ensure they do not have to return to accommodation where they would be at risk of violence. The study attempted to establish an estimate of the numbers and circumstances of adults in such circumstances who do and do not receive sufficient assistance from local housing authorities to ensure they do not need to return to accommodation where they would be at risk of violence. It attempted to establish the types of assistance being provided to these adults – via both statutory and non-statutory means – and the implications for households who do not receive the assistance they need.

16 Findings Housing and housing related support play a vital role in increasing the chances of someone being able to leave accommodation where they are at risk of violence and not having to return to it. A local authority's initial response is important. Good housing options service provide an effective choice of housing solutions to a wider client group Poor data availability – housing outcomes not always clear Mixed practice across the country – possible disconnect between policy and practice Suggestion of a link between length of stay in temporary accommodation and increased risk of return to a violent situation

17 Findings Local authority’s initial response is important. Region Policy a) Always in priority need b) Not in priority need c) Case by case basis No response Total East North West North East10506 South East East Midlands Yorkshire and the Humber10315 West Midlands London South West Total22 (17%)2 (2%)95 (74%)9 (7%)128 Reported policy and practice on deciding whether applicants who are a single adult without children and fleeing domestic violence are ‘vulnerable’

18 Accommodation and support provision for households at risk of domestic violence Research project 2 - accommodation and support provision for households at risk of domestic violence. This study identified the current housing options available to households at risk of domestic violence, and to assess whether this provision meets current need. It involved establishing: The extent and type of temporary and settled accommodation available for households at risk of domestic violence in England, including the provision of housing related support services delivered to both temporary and settled accommodation, and to households’ own homes The extent and nature of other options which enable households to remain safely in their homes Whether current provision meets the needs of households at risk of domestic violence What gaps in provision exist

19 445 accommodation based services (79% charitable/ 3rd sector, 20% housing associations 1% local authorities) 301 floating support services (79% charitable/ 3rd sector, 15% housing associations 6% local authorities)

20 Specialist accommodation per 10,000 population RegionHouseholds in 2011 (000s) Total services Household Places 1 Mean places per 100 thousand households Mean places per 10,000 population London East Midlands West Midlands Yorkshire and Humber South East East England South West North East North West Total 2, ,

21 Findings Overall, the provision of accommodation and housing-related support for households at risk of domestic violence is widespread across England. This provides a good basis for further development of the sector. However, currently provision is inconsistent and often relatively thin in terms of offering households a range of options at any one local level. A more strategic approach to delivering this provision is required at both a local and national level. Households at risk of domestic violence (including children) require more than traditionally defined accommodation and housing-related support. Some households may have a need for considerable and long-term support that may encompass issues such as safety and self-esteem alongside a lower level need for tenancy sustainment support. The immediate risks of violence to this client group means that services necessarily have to function differently. Services need to be able to respond to both housing-related and these other very specific support needs. Specialist services and/or well-coordinated packages of service are therefore essential. A one model generic floating support service, or accommodation based service, cannot therefore be made to fit the needs of households at risk of domestic violence.

22 Effectiveness of schemes to enable households at risk of to remain in their own homes Research project 3 - the effectiveness of schemes to enable households at risk of domestic violence to remain in their own homes. The aim of this project was to evaluate the effectiveness of schemes that enable households at risk of domestic violence to remain in their own homes. Commonly referred to as ‘Sanctuary Schemes’, they aim to ensure the safety and security of accommodation occupied by the household at risk of domestic violence, and are often implemented alongside legal measures such as injunctions and restraining orders. Although ‘Sanctuary Schemes’ have been an important part of many local authorities’ actions to help prevent homelessness, there has been little research into their effectiveness and in identifying ‘what works’ in terms of ensuring they are a safe and sustainable option for households at risk of domestic violence. This project evaluated a number of case study Sanctuary Schemes in order to identify what works in the provision of a Sanctuary. It will highlight examples of good practice, and use the evidence gathered to update the existing government guidance on the provision of Sanctuaries (see CLG (2006) Options for Setting up a Sanctuary Scheme). It also gathered evidence and attempted to assess the cost benefits of Sanctuaries.

23 Findings Overall Sanctuary Schemes were thought to be successful in meeting their main aim of providing a safe alternative for households at risk of domestic violence. Most service users said they felt much safer following the installation of Sanctuary measures although there was some evidence that a few households had moved from their Sanctuary because they did not feel safe. However, few Sanctuary Schemes were able to provide detailed information about the sustainability of Sanctuaries beyond immediate outcomes. Difficult to draw firm conclusions about the relative merits of different types of Sanctuary Scheme installations in the absence of detailed data on outcomes for individual households.

24 159 sanctuary schemes (with 68% providing service floating support) Last quarter 1070 preventions using Sanctuary Schemes

25 Barriers and good practice points people being/feeling unsafe outside their homes; problems with information sharing and inter-agency working; a reluctance on behalf of service users to pursue legal remedies; funding issues; a reluctance amongst some RSLs to make a contribution to the costs of Sanctuary Schemes.

26 Good practice points Agencies developing Sanctuary Schemes must consider how the Sanctuary Scheme will operate as part of a package of measures to support service users and to prevent further incidents of domestic violence. Sanctuary Schemes should consider how they will monitor and evaluate their service from the outset. All Sanctuary Scheme service users should have a full needs assessment. This should be undertaken by a specialist domestic violence worker. It is recommended that all Sanctuary Schemes use a standardised needs assessment and personal safety planning tool

27 Ministerial Working Group on Homelessness Cross-Government Ministerial Working Group to address the complex causes of homelessness and rough sleeping: Clear strategic commitment from Ministers in eight Government departments; Defence, Health, Education, Work and Pensions, Home Office, Justice, DCLG, Business, Innovation and Skills Shared responsibility for preventing and tackling homelessness Aligning national strategies Removing bureaucracy on local organisations.

28 First MWG report: Vision to End Rough Sleeping – No Second Night Out nationwide Published July 2011 Focused on addressing the complex causes of single homelessness and rough sleeping. Departmental commitments across six broad priorities: 1. Helping People Off the Streets 2. Helping People Access Healthcare 3. Helping people into Work 4. Reducing Bureaucratic Burdens 5. Increasing Local Control Over Investment of Services 6. Devolving Responsibility for Tackling Homelessness Flagship policy announcement was the national roll out of No Second Night Out (Mayor of London’s approach to getting new rough sleepers off the streets)

29 Second report: Preventing homelessness – the rationale We know that homelessness is not just about housing Recent evidence on Multiple Exclusion Homelessness (MEH) has suggested that there is a high degree of overlap between these needs[1]. A survey of homelessness service users in 7 UK cities found:[1] 98% had been homeless at some point 70% had experienced substance misuse 67% had been involved in street culture activities; and  62% had experienced some kind of institutional care. There was a high degree of overlap between these experiences with almost half (47%) of service users reporting all four experiences, demonstrating that many homeless individuals have complex and multiple needs. This leads to increased costs and increased burden on other services. Research shows that many come into repeated contact with range of services before they become homeless – schools, care system, criminal justice system, drug and alcohol services [1] Fitzpatrick et al, Heriot-Watt University, Sept 2011 Multiple exclusion homelessness across the UK: A quantitative survey. A multi-stage survey conducted in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds and Westminster [1]

30 Second report: Preventing homelessness – the strategy Broader focus on preventing all forms of homelessness – families as well as rough sleepers and single homeless Intervening earlier to tackle underlying problems by embedding homelessness prevention activity into the work of the range of agencies that come into contact with those at risk before they lose their home Delivering integrated services (like Community Budgets) that will tackle the complex causes of homelessness and support an individual’s recovery. Working towards a Summer publication

31 Working together in the context of the MWG 1) Addressing underlying problems Do local authorities and the voluntary sector have a role in preventing domestic violence and homelessness by addressing underlying problems? What should this look like? 2) Prevention and other agencies How can we embed prevention activity into the work of agencies? What can agencies do to help tackle domestic violence homelessness? 3) Leadership What forum would work best to help bring the wider services involved in tackling domestic violence and homelessness? Do appropriate local structures exist that could be adapted for this purpose? 4) Integrated services How can we deliver better integrated local services? What are the barriers?


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