Revive, domestic abuse post-lockdown case study


When Sara (not her real name)  ended her 11-year long abusive relationship, she found herself and her four children in a hotel provided by her council. Like many mothers who have fled an abusive relationship, she was left distraught about the impact leaving her husband had on her children. In her culture, it was seen as disgrace on her and her family, and her eldest son blamed her for the conditions they were living in.

Sara and the children were traumatised by what they had experienced before fleeing. Before they had time to get to grips with their predicament, the holy month of Ramadan had arrived and they had no access to a kitchen in order to observe traditional fasting and cooking practices. Their situation worsened overnight. Sara had to buy ready-made meals instead of preparing fresh food to break the long periods of fasting.

As if the trauma wasn’t deep enough, one day her youngest child suffered severe burns after attempting to pour water from a kettle in her room. Because of the severity of the scolding and concerns regarding the family’s living condition, the hospital’s safeguarding team decided to keep Sara’s daughter in hospital for over a week. 

This resulted in the family staying in a ward because the older children could not return to the hotel without their mother. 

Our case manager, Brenda Fraser, received calls from the hospital safeguarding team and Manchester educational services regarding the family's housing situation. At this stage, Sara was already in the process of being offered a 3-bed property through Homefinder UK’s specialist service, Revive. However, the property was waiting for gas appliance to be uncapped, followed by electricity testing. Usually, the completion of these jobs would not be a problem - but we now had the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown stopped all works. 

During this period, Sara became extremely anxious, despondent and depressed. She often rang her case manager, Brenda, in great distress, questioning why the move was taking so long. Homefinder UK’s staff are experienced in handling such situations and trained to support applicants throughout the process. 

Given the high levels of anxiety, the Homefinder UK team sought and offered Sara another property but unfortunately Sara was not happy with this alternative, which she declined. After many further weeks, the original property was signed-off as ready for habitation and Sara finally moved into her 3-bed property to start life afresh.

Homefinder UK negotiated for the sending local authority to pay for the taxi fare for Sara’s viewing and they also gave her £500 for furniture and white goods. The landlord of the new property also assisted Sara by helping her to complete relevant forms and arranged for the energy supply to be connected.

Sara’s response at the end of her relocation journey was: “Brenda, my angel, helped me and my children to have a new home. I am grateful for all Homefinder UK’s help and support. I am also thankful to the receiving landlord who was patient during the viewing and assisted with forms.”

Are you fleeing domestic abuse? Homefinder UK may be able to help you relocate to another borough. Find out more about our Revive project.