Homefinder UK partners with Safer London and DAHA in Call to Action to prioritise housing for DA survivors


The coronavirus lockdown is creating conditions for an exponential rise in domestic abuse and coercive behaviour, in what the UK's Victims Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, called "an epidemic inside this pandemic". The Government has made clear that isolation guidelines do not apply for those fleeing domestic abuse and has issued guidance for local authorities and housing associations to continue essential moves for vulnerable people, including those experiencing domestic abuse. 

Last week, the Government announced that the Domestic Abuse legislation, currently under review in Parliament, will include priority need for housing for domestic abuse survivors - a huge step for those who face the impossible choice between living with abuse and homelessness. Until the amendment becomes law, however, we need to prioritise domestic abuse survivors who are currently trapped, with no options to escape during this pandemic. 

Homefinder UK's latest Revive project, like many other organisations and charities, has seen an increase in distressing calls from applicants seeking help. To support these vulnerable applicants, Revive has been working alongside domestic abuse agencies, refuges and other charities to ensure housing is given to those who need most. Recently, the project helped a former NHS nurse who was abused by her family find and move into a secure permanent social housing despite the lockdown restrictions.


Domestic Abuse as a priority

There is an urgent need to get rid of constraints on housing to provide better options for domestic abuse survivors in this time of need. That's why Revive has partnered with Safer London and the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) in a Call to Action to encourage councils and housing associations to continue to let properties prioritising survivors of domestic abuse, sharing advice and good practice.

Through collaboration, we want to engage the housing sector as a whole to address domestic abuse as a number one priority, ensuring every survivor can access the emergency accommodation and long-term affordable housing they need. 

The campaign asks social housing providers to also look at innovative practice such as virtual viewings and e-signatures to continue lettings for essential moves while respecting social distancing guidelines. Advice on spotting signs of domestic abuse during welfare checks as well as working with ‘move on’ organizations such as Homefinder UK to access additional social housing across the UK are some of the actions raised. Click here to see our urgent Call To Action for local authorities and housing providers.

The current lockdown has brought new challenges, but also the opportunity to review the homelessness system and how to better respond to domestic abuse. This crisis showed, if nothing else, that when the resolve is there, we can accomplish a lot through partnership working.


Published on the media: 

Domestic abuse survivors must be prioritised for social housing during lockdown, charities say

Calls for social landlords to prioritise letting to domestic abuse survivors during pandemic

Scotland's new 'pandemic' of domestic abuse and mental health problems

Listen to our manager, Brenda Fraser, speaking to TalkRadio about the Call to Action here (slot 19:30 - 20:00).