Thousands fleeing domestic violence face squalid housing

Thousands of vulnerable survivors of domestic violence in England are being housed in dirty and unsuitable accommodation, including dwellings overrun with mice and mould, holes in the floor and no electricity.

Housing lawyers and charities said a lack of social housing and poor council decisions meant women were increasingly being put in temporary accommodation that was not fit for purpose, putting them at risk of returning to the perpetrators of abuse.

Bernardi said the benefits cap and local housing allowances was resulting in women being housed in inappropriate properties. “The higher the private market rents go, local housing allowances are frozen and there are fewer landlords willing to offer properties at lower rates. The ones who do are the ones who are not able to get market rate as the property tends to be in a bad condition,” he said.

The domestic violence bill aims to give local councils greater powers to protect and support survivors. Launching a consultation in March, the then home secretary, Amber Rudd, and the justice secretary, David Gauke, said in a joint statement, : “We are determined to ensure victims feel safe and supported, both to seek help and to rebuild their lives.”

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