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Prevention and recovery from domestic abuse and sexual violence

This theme explores the issues surrounding domestic abuse and sexual violence for women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and is being led by Expert Group member Davina James-Hanman, Director, AVA (Against Violence and Abuse). Read the Theme Round-Up here.

Please post your submissions, see what others have submitted, and join in the discussion.

Davina says:

Imagine if a violent criminal had the key to your front door. This is what – at some point in their lives – one in four women in the UK will experience so it’s hardly surprising that domestic abuse is a key cause of women’s homelessness.  Perhaps less well known is the contribution sexual violence can make to homelessness, whether this be girls leaving home because of sexual abuse in the family or rape victims unable to continue living in the same area as their rapist.

Women fleeing domestic violence, if unable to access refuges, can end up sleeping rough, in hidden homelessness situations or in general homelessness provision. Abuse can also continue throughout women’s homelessness experience in accommodation projects or between couples living on the streets. For those escaping sexual violence, unless it occurred within a domestic abuse context, their housing options are more limited. Women in insecure accommodation are also more vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

One element of this Rebuilding Shattered Lives campaign is to raise awareness of the need for homelessness and housing providers to work more closely with domestic and sexual violence services to ensure that they are providing appropriate support to women in these circumstances.  Of course, accommodation is rarely the only need that women have when escaping domestic or sexual abuse. There are often on-going legal cases in both the criminal and family courts. Children are often traumatised and need specialist support, women’s confidence and self-esteem is often damaged and their destroyed capacity to trust has a profound impact on their ability to rebuild a new life.

Even reaching the decision to leave an abusive relationship can take a long time. The question of whether to stay or leave any relationship is a difficult and complex one, irrespective of the presence of abuse and it is unlikely to be a sudden decision.

There’s been a lot of work on domestic abuse and sexual violence in the past two decades but the homicide rate – two women a week – remains stubbornly stable so clearly we have a lot still to learn. I look forward to hearing about new and emerging practice and urge you to share your good practice and post a submission.

Read more from Davina about these issues on her blog.

Join us by showcasing your best practice and innovations

We particularly want to hear about:

  • Access to refuges/appropriate accommodation for women with complex needs fleeing domestic or sexual abuse
  • Services which prevent homelessness for domestic and sexual violence victims
  • Multi agency working for homeless women experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence and exploitation
  • Services for women with no recourse to public funds
  • Services which support women who have been affected by violence, for example when rough sleeping

If you have already joined the campaign, please log in to submit evidence. If you are not already a member, please click here to register. Please submit your contributions by 31 October 2012.

See a video from Davina explaining more about why she’s involved with the Rebuilding Shattered Lives campaign.

Theme started on: 31 Aug 2012

30 Submissions

  1. Esther Sample

    Domestic abuse – evidence from a St Mungo’s report on why people still end up rough sleeping.

    In 2011 St Mungo’s published a report Battered, Broken, Bereft – why people still end up rough sleeping. One of the findings in this report was about domestic abuse.

    Women only account for 19% of our residents who have slept rough, however, the proportion of women for whom domestic abuse led directly to rough sleeping was very high. When these women needed protection and a place to be safe there was no help available and they were forced to sleep on the streets.

    We found from our client needs survey that:

    • 35% of women who have slept rough left home to escape domestic abuse

    • Women made homeless by domestic violence who slept rough on average had more support needs than those who avoided rough sleeping.

    Please do read more in the report here: http://www.mungos.org/documents/7269.pdf

  2. NLWP

    A Resident’s View:

    ‘I put up with domestic violence for a very long time but then I made a stand and left- that is how I first ended up in London. Women can become homeless because they are strong, decide not to stand for it any more and run away. I knew a woman who went back to the same man forty times and then he ended up killing her. Women need more support in their homes so the perpetrator can be arrested and they don’t have to run away.’

    ‘I have been in a refuge before and various homelessness projects. In the refuge I felt safe but another woman’s partner found her and that had a bad impact on all the women there. It turned out he lived just around the corner and knew what school her child went to so found her easily. Women need the option to move far away and change schools for their children.’

    ‘Because I have been harmed by men before, I didn’t feel that safe in mixed homelessness projects. In one it was dormitories with curtains between the beds rather than rooms. There was a separate section for women, but still there was lots of heavy drinking and fighting. It is important to have a lock on your door.’

    ‘Colchester Mind was a good service I used to go to in the day and receive food and support’. ‘I feel safe in this project (North London Women’s Project) and am a lot better now. I used to be drinking heavily, including on the street. It is quite quiet around this area which is good.’

  3. Margaret Williams

    East London Housing Partnership operates a Reciprocal Agreement that facilitates moves across borough boundaries for women escaping domestic violence. Eight local authorities and 20 registerd providers have collaborated to offer the Reciprocal Agreement as an alternative to the homelessness route. The Reciprocal offers a move to alternative accommodation, subject to availability, on a similar level of tenancy security. The option is available to surviors who hold a social tenancy in the East London sub region, even if they are staying with friends or living in a refuge elsewhere, provided they still have the tenancy. Details of the East London Reciprocal Agreement, local authority and registered providers lead contacts and the application process are available on the ELHP web site on the Homelessness page at http://www.elhp.org.uk

  4. SJ 2012

    I have suffered from so much emotional abuse from mother in law specially. And in my 11 years of marriage I used to get up from nightmares that she was standing by my bed ready to stab me. It was horrible. Like they say ‘sticks and stones Might break my bones but words will never hurt me’ but in reality it’s not true. Emotional abuse is maybe worse that physical abuse. … And the thoughts that we develop in our heads of being scared never go away. They get engraved in our hearts for forever…
    The emotional abuse I got from husband and in laws besides physical abuse, seems to have hurt me far more worse. Because wounds heal but the scars on our personality never go away.
    And because of the emotional abuse I have had so much trouble sleeping properly. And even after over a year of my separation I still have sleepless nights and major reason for me not being able to sleep is that all those horrible things that were said to me keep spinning in my head. I dread going up to bed. I rather sit awake all night long or do something than trying to go to sleep. That is the worst part of my day. And when finally sun is rising in the morning I am so glad to see it because that means I can get out of bed and become busy again with doing things and not have to ride on my emotional roller coaster ….

  5. Refuge

    Refuge established the world’s first safe house for women and children escaping domestic violence in 1971. Since then, it has grown to become the country’s largest specialist provider of domestic violence services and the leading voice in the campaign to end abuse. On any given day, Refuge supports over 1,600 women and their children through its services, plus a further 400 women each day on the National Domestic Violence Helpline (run in partnership with Women’s Aid).

    Refuge operates a national network of services which includes: independent domestic and sexual violence advocacy, refuges, outreach, sanctuary, floating support and culturally specific accommodation and outreach for BAMER women and children. Nationally, Refuge manages 45 refuges, working in partnership with 24 Social Landlords in 16 local authorities.

    For more information, visit http://www.refuge.org.uk  or if you’re worried about a friend, go to http://www.1in4women.com

  6. NLWP

    A resident’s view:

    When I became homeless and went to the Council they asked me loads of personal questions before they told me anything about the system and the types of accommodation out there. It would be better if women could have a leaflet first before they have to disclose their stories. I was interviewed in an open room and did not feel comfortable, I was whispering my details. For women who have had bad experiences such as domestic violence they should always be interviewed in a private room.
    I have been to a women’s group on domestic violence delivered by a refuge provider before that was really helpful. They talked about what to expect in a relationship, and how to spot signs that someone is controlling or abusive before you go out with them. To prevent more women becoming homeless from domestic violence it would be good if there was some kind of women’s advice bureau where you could access advice on relationships, money and legal matters before things get really bad.
    In homeless hostels I think generally there is less constant support than in refuges. Key workers need to spot the signs if someone is feeling down or depressed and reach out. That is why I like my key worker here- we have lots of informal chats as well as key working sessions.
    For moving on from hostels or refuges it is important that workers give realistic options about council housing, private rented sector or supported housing. If women had a chance to go and see the different types of accommodation before they made their decision they would feel more confident. I am worried about taking a 6 month lease, if it was 1 year I wouldn’t mind, stability is really important.

  7. NLWP

    A residents view:

    I came over to the UK from Uganda with my husband and after two months I was pregnant. The baby died at 38 weeks so I had a still birth and we lost our council property because I was no longer pregnant. After that my husband was not good to me, always shouting and then he left. I was homeless for one month sleeping outside and had lost my home, baby and husband and it was very difficult. Rough sleeping is an awful situation for women- there need to be more support. I went to the Church and they referred me to the North London Women’s Project. Things are much better now, but because of my experiences I don’t sleep and have to take tablets. I find it difficult to be around people who use drugs and alcohol as I don’t. I pray day and night that one day I will have my own home so I can settle, go back to college and get employment.

  8. Marcia Lewinson

    W.A.I.T.S (Women Acting In Today’s Society) is a women’s educational charity for women from diverse areas within the West Midlands. They address issues such as welfare benefits, employment and education, business development, resettlement and housing, domestic abuse, isolation, health, crime and the fear of crime and many more. Services offered within the Domestic Abuse Project include support, advocacy, befriending and counselling.
    WAITS are currently providing refuge accommodation for women experiencing domestic abuse, and offending due to domestic abuse.
    WAITS supports women to have a voice in society by providing active citizenship and capacity building to women’s groups and organisations.

  9. Colin Fitzgerald

    Respect is the UK membership association for Domestic Violence Prevention Programmes and Integrated Support Services. Their vision is to end violence and abuse in intimate partner and close family relationships. Our key aim is to increase the safety and well-being of victims by promoting, supporting, delivering and developing effective interventions with perpetrators.

    The work of Domestic Violence Prevention Programmes and Integrated Support Services can prevent situations escalating to a point where women and children are forced to flee their home and can become homeless. For more information see http://www.respect.uk.net or the attached leaflet entitled ‘Working with the source of the problem’. The leaflet contains the case study of Nathan who had separated a year ago from Kim because of his violence and abuse, which culminated in an incident where he was violent in front of their children Jordan (9) and Zak (7) and Nathan hadn’t seen the children since. He was desperate to resume contact and applied for an order to do so through the family court. The court instructed him to attend a DVPP for risk assessment and to complete the group work programme:

    ‘Without the DVPP/ISS Nathan may not have been granted contact, perhaps leading to him trying to track the children down, growing increasingly angry at – and a risk to –Kim. If he was granted contact it is likely that this wouldn’t have been safe or positive leading to a breakdown of contact and further court proceedings. And without addressing his domestic violence, Nathan may well have gone on to be violent to [his new partner] Lisa too.’

  10. Souad Talsi

    Al-Hasaniya MWP Ltd was established in November 1985 and is a registered charity and company by limited guarantee. Al-Hasaniya won many awards for excellence in community work, the most recent being the Guardian charity award 2010. Al-Hasaniya Moroccan Women’s Centre has served the needs of Moroccan and Arabic-speaking women and their families in London and the UK for the last 26 years. It aims to provide support in all matters concerning the health, well being, education and cultural needs of Moroccan and Arabic-speaking women and their families. We seek to encourage and help our users, access mainstream services and to promote positive citizenship and greater understanding amongst communities within the confines of the tri-borough area in particular and London in general. Our wider aim is equally to assist, support and empower small local organisations and groups within the Arabic speaking diverse communities to integrate better and serve their members greater. We do this by sharing our knowledge and expertise and run workshops on capacity building.
    Al-Hasaniya existing projects are as follows;
    • Domestic Violence project
    • Older People’s Outreach project
    • Children and Families mental health Project
    • Inspire Well Women Programme – for Somali and Arabic speaking women in Kensington and Chelsea offering holistic advice and guidance around health and well-being through a variety of activities and services
    • Drop in sessions
    • Dardasha- documenting the history and stories of the Moroccan women who settled in the Notting Hill area of Kensington between 1960 to date.
    • Breakfast Club, especially designed for young mothers to come and receive appropriate structured counselling and support
    • Weekly group counselling in partnership with Parkside health Clinic
    • Men’s drop-In-Services- supporting the elderly Arabic speaking men as there are no designated services for them, this is in partnership with Amal Al-Jadid association.
    • Parenting programme as part of our strengthening communities programme
    • Mint tea- summer activities in the Moroccan garden as a continued process of networking with local small groups serving the needs of Arabic-speaking communities in London
    • 3E’s project, a new and exciting three project funded by the Big lottery with the aim to educate, empower and engage Arabic speaking women , supporting them to return to education and employment by offering tailor-made courses, pin partnership with the Kensington and Chelsea College, NOVA and Kensington and Chelsea Social Council

    For more information please visit us on http://www.al-hasaniya.org.uk

  11. Hayley Sumner

    Preston Domestic Violence Services is the only organisation in Preston that supports adults and children experiencing (of having experienced) domestic or sexual violence. Our services include:

    • Butterfly Service – A service for victims of domestic violence who need support with resettlement or housing issues.
    • 24hour confidential helpline (01772 201601)
    • The Hope Centre – A drop in centre for women and children who have experienced domestic abuse. This is a free confidential service that offers advice and support as well as therapeutic sessions.
    • IDVAs – A service that offers advice, support and options to increase the safety of high risk victims of domestic abuse.
    • ISVAs – Provides confidential advice to male, female, and children victims of sexual assault and rape.
    • Immigration Advice for victims of domestic abuse
    • Outreach – A service for any victim of domestic abuse that offers practical and emotional support.
    • Sanctuary – This scheme aims to secure the home of people that have been victims of domestic abuse by including additional security measure, e.g. new locks.
    • Preston Refuge and Chorley Refuges – Safe, temporary accommodation for women and children fleeing domestic violence.
    • Umeed Service – A service that is specifically victims from the BME community. Support is available in Gujarati, Punjabi, Urdu, Polish and English
    • Nadzieja Service – A service specifically for Polish victims of domestic abuse that offers practical and emotional support.
    • Men2 Service – A service that specifically supports male victims of domestic abuse by offering practical and emotional support.
    For more information see http://www.pdvs.org.uk

  12. OIWG

    Resident’s views:

    ‘When it comes to violence and abuse there is a problem that often it is the woman’s word against the man’s and he will say he didn’t do anything. There needs to be good CCTV in all mixed support projects so there is more evidence to back women up.’
    ‘I was staying in one homelessness project previously where a man kept climbing up the outside of the building onto a female resident’s balcony, when she reported to staff they talked to him and took his word over hers that he didn’t.’
    ‘Women need to support each other more and encourage each other to report harassment’
    ‘It takes a lot to report abuse or something like rape so women don’t make these things up. If they feel they are not believed then it makes it more likely that they will not report it again. If you look at the statistic on false allegations of rape they are really low compared to other offences.’
    ‘It is not just about domestic and sexual violence, women experiencing homelessness are subjected to intimidation and all kinds of creepy behaviour, a guy once asked me whether I would prefer to be raped or killed so I just quickly left the room.’

  13. Kristen Clonan

    Safe Horizon is the largest victims’ services agency in the United States, touching the lives of more than 250,000 children, adults, and families affected by crime and abuse throughout New York City each year. We offer assistance to victims through 57 program locations, including shelter, in-person counseling, legal services, and more.

    Since 1978, Safe Horizon has provided victims of domestic violence, child abuse, human trafficking, rape and sexual assault, as well as homeless youth and families of homicide victims, with a wide range of comprehensive support. Our programs also partner with governmental and other community agencies to offer additional assistance, including finding resources for those living outside New York City.

    More information is available in the fact sheet attached or at: http://www.safehorizon.org/

  14. Lissa Samantaraya-Shivji

    The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter in Canada’s mission is to support individuals and families in their efforts to live free from family violence and abuse. We offer a range of intervention and prevention programming through our shelter and community-based services to women, children, youth and men living with family violence and abuse. Family violence includes many different forms of abuse, mistreatment or neglect, and has a widespread impact on our community. In a recent survey conducted by the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, 62% of respondents said they had experienced family violence firsthand or knew someone who had.

    Our programs and services are based in best or promising practices and undergo program evaluation, with a focus on continuous quality improvement. Attached are descriptions of several of our programs, offered in-house (shelter) and in the community. Please also visit our website http://www.calgarywomensshelter.com for more information about these and other programs we offer.

  15. Veronica Wiseman

    Myself and a colleague have discovered a programme called “Pattern Changing for Abused Women”, an educational programme for women affected by domestic violence. The aim of the programme is to enable women to raise awareness of their own patterns of behaviour and take control over their lives and relationships into the future. Fundamental to the programme..” is a firm belief in basic rights for all persons, an understanding of an ability to set boundaries, and the development of assertiveness skills to ask for our rights and to protect our boundaries” (Goodman & Fallon 1995 ). The programme was first set up in the USA by Goodman & Fallon, but is already being used in the South-West of England with excellent results, and discussed on Radio 4′s “Woman’s Hour” earlier this year.
    My colleague, a qualified counsellor, and myself, an experienced trainer & facilitator, are hoping to raise funds to start a 10-12 week closed group to enable at least 8-10 women to explore their patterns of behaviour and develop their assertiveness skills. We have already been promised half the cost of the pilot project from a National charity, and are looking for an organisation to back us with the balance of the costs.
    It is anticipated that the women considered for the group will already be in a place of safety, and will also have had some group support or counselling, and moved through the initial stages of crisis intervention.
    The women will be encouraged and supported to share previous patterns of behaviour, and shown how they can make changes for themselves and/or their children.
    The aim is for the women to be encouraged, after the end of the group sessions, to form their own support group, as they move forward to create new lives for themselves.
    We are based in West Sussex, and have already been in discussions with the commissioning body locally about this programme.
    However, we are also considering taking this idea out to other organisations or areas who may be interested in running such a programme.
    We believe that this programme could be a successful part of enabling abused women to take control, and that women who have this threefold foundation of rights, boundaries and assertiveness will never again find themselves victims of domestic abuse.
    Contact: Veronica Wiseman, Momentum Training & Consultancy.

  16. Elle Lock

    The Havens are specialist centres in London offering counselling and medical services for people who have been raped or sexually assaulted in the last 12 months. The Havens provide free awareness sessions on sexual violence and available support to a range of organisations, including homelessness agencies such as St Mungo’s, to improve access to support for homeless women who have experienced rape. They also have specialist workers for 13-18 year olds and Asian women. Services include:
    • Psychological therapy including counselling and clinical psychology
    • Emotional support
    • First aid and advice
    • Emergency contraception
    • Advice and treatments from sexually transmitted infections
    • A voluntary forensic examination to collect evidence from the assault
    • Follow up care
    All services are voluntary and at the choice of the client. For more information see: http://www.thehavens.co.uk/

  17. Anna Bain

    Solace Women’s Aid Refuge
    A Resident’s view:
    ‘I had to leave my home with my 2 young children because of my husband’s violence. It is unfair that it is the man who makes the problem and then it is the women and children who have to suffer and leave their home. I am suffering and he is sitting down in our home enjoying himself. It would be better if the man had to leave and the women and children could stay and be kept safe.’
    ‘The police were good and came quickly, if they had not, I might not have survived. I am not from the uK and have no family in the UK, so I had no choice but to go with the Police. They put me in a B&B as temporary accommodation for 3 weeks. This was mixed accommodation for men and women and it did not feel safe for me or my children. Men were drinking in the project and I was scared if they approached me what they wanted to do. It was good weather at the time so I just spend all day long in the park with the children and then only came back to sleep.’
    ‘The local housing department then got me into this Solace Women’s Aid Refuge. Here I feel much safer. It is really good that they have play workers on some days so I can have time to cook and clean and think, and know my children are being looked after in the same building. After this I hope to find a house for us far away from the area where my husband lives.’

  18. Jo Meagher

    YWHP is a specialist support project for young women (aged 16-25yrs) who have been affected by sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or sexual/domestic violence. The YWHP aims to provide safe places to live, and specialist support to help young women to overcome the effects of abuse. We do this by providing supported accommodation and floating support; and also through specialist therapeutic care, so that they can get on with living their lives, and achieve the future they want.

    For more information see: http://www.ywhp.org.uk/

  19. Emma Bell

    Jewish Women’s Aid is the only specialist charity in the UK that works with Jewish women and children affected by domestic abuse. As well as running a refuge and advocacy and support service, JWA offers women free counselling and access to the specialsit intervention of a children’s worker. In addition, the organisation campaigns across the Jewish community on the unacceptability of domestic abuse, and has recently begun training professionals in communal social welfare organistions. Our prevention work focusses on programmes in Jewish schools that explore healthy, safe relationships.

    In 2011 JWA conducted independent research on domestic abuse in the Jewish community, including a community wide survey and interviews with ex-JWA clients.The value of a specialist service was roundly endorsed, with 78% of survey respondents indicating that a Jewish-specific domestic abuse was needed.

    “You feel alone, sometimes as a Jewish woman, like you are the only one, ever, to have had
    an abusive male husband. And then after coming to JWA, you realise that an organisation
    like that wouldn’t exist if you were the only one. And you wouldn’t wish it on anyone else,
    but there is comfort in knowing you are not alone “ (26 year old JWA client.)

    For more information please go to: http://www.jwa.org.uk

  20. Anne Clark

    The Islington approach:

    We have a VAWG Strategy and a VAWG Subgroup Strategy. We found that complex needs women were not represented at MARAC and when identified not engaging with traditional DV services. In addition, we have the problem of women in treatment services experiencing high level of violence with perpetrators also using treatment services. With the clients often having issues around offending, sex work, homelessness - street population, maintaining tenancy, mental health and poly drug use.

    This is what we have done in the last 18 months to address the issues:

    Improved Service Delivery Model
    Bespoke Domestic Violence and MARAC Training for Treatment Service staff Monthly CAADA DASH RIC training for anyone in partnership.
    Three treatment staff have completed CAADA IDVA training and are now specialist in their services and enables diffusion of skills and increased identification of cases.
    DV and SM Perpetrator Pilot ( partnership CRANSTOUN/CASA and DVIP). First stage pilot completed 2011/12 and now secured funding to run again in 2013/14.
    Development of ACTIV8 Pilot - delivered by Pillion Trust ( see attached presentation). Initially, the pilot was developed out of recognition that we have “revolving door” women in and out of prison, homeless, offending, various forms of VAWG and failing to complete rehab, and unable to sustain tenancy. Purpose of ACTIV8 is to ensure coordinated casework through intensive support, increased referral to MARAC, decreased offending. Improved identification of perpetrators and links to MAPPA.

    Development of Perpetrator Working Group Development of VAWG Housing Subgroup TOR for VAWG and SM WG have been revised and is now Complex Needs Working Group with extended membership to include Mental Health and Adult Safeguarding.
    CAADA Recommendations disseminated via Adult Safeguarding QA Group.
    Needs Assessment on VAWG includes complex and multiple needs under equalities as multiple deprivation.

  21. Caroline Burrell

    Edinburgh Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre provide free and confidential emotional and practical support, information and advocacy to women, girls aged 12 and over and all members of the transgender community, who have experienced sexual violence from male or female abusers at any time in their lives. This includes rape, sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse and ritual abuse. It also includes women who have become homeless of have housing issues because of fleeing abuse.

    For more information see: http://www.ewrasac.org.uk

  22. Maria Sookias


    Lesbian, gay bisexual and trans domestic abuse forum (LGBT DAF) is a second tier project that brings together individuals, community activists, researchers, voluntary and statutory agencies to improve services for LGBT people who have experienced domestic abuse. Our network is pan London although we have links to experts and specialist services across the UK.

    Our aim is to improve how LGBT survivors access and experience voluntary and statutory domestic abuse services as well as raise awareness of domestic abuse experienced by LGBT people.

    Current reforms and public sector cuts mean that the landscape of domestic abuse services is dramatically changing. Domestic abuse agencies are facing cuts, closure or contemplating mergers and some services will be provided by alternative providers in future. The LGBT voluntary sector is particularly vulnerable at this time since its income mostly comes from the public sector and is predominantly restricted and it spends 99.6% of its income each year (compared to the wider voluntary sector which is able to invest 3.8% of its income each year)[1].

    Recent legislative advances have not stemmed the increase in numbers of people calling Stonewall Housing for advice: over 1/3 of callers have experienced domestic abuse. In a survey carried out for the LGBT Domestic Abuse Forum’s Transforming Domestic Abuse Services in September 2012 showed that out of 79 respondents 96% wanted more sexual and domestic violence services for trans people.

    Furthermore, many LGBT people will now have less safe, affordable housing options and poorer access to advice due to proposals to change welfare benefits (housing benefit cuts and increasing the age of the shared room rate), legal aid and social housing.

    The rise in vulnerable people facing domestic abuse is having a negative impact on other areas of their lives. It leaves them vulnerable to homelessness which in itself makes their situation even worse and there is a risk that they could have to choose between the abuse they are facing at home and the abuse they could face if they end up in inappropriate housing.

    LGBT DAF run quarterly events/open meetings and annual conferences on specific topics, produce resources, e-briefings and use of engagement tools, such as focus groups and surveys, to ensure sexual and domestic abuse services are meeting the needs of LGBT communities and all sectors are able to share best practice, knowledge and resources.

    One action from the Transforming Services Conference was to set up a meeting with the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) sector to begin discussions about providing services specifically for trans people. Early discussions with the VAWG sector has proved very positive and funding and we hope to continue to develop this work further.

    For further details, please go to: http://www.lgbtdaf.org

    [1] ‘The London LGBT Voluntary and Community Sector Almanac’ January 2011 Kairos in Soho

  23. sarah learmonth

    Coventry Rape & Sexual Abuse Centre (CRASAC) has been established for 30 years, providing free services to women and girls, men and boys, aged 5 years and above, in Coventry, who are victims or survivors of sexual violence and abuse either now or in the past. We provide a helpline, counselling service, therapy groups for adults and children, an outreach service for black and ethnic minority groups as well as young people, support and advocacy for those who choose to go through the criminal justice system and we address the effects of sexual violence in a safe environment.

    CRASAC support over 3,500 victims of rape and abuse through all our services and the number increases every year.

    For more info see: http://www.crasac.org.uk/

  24. Esther Sample

    St Mungo’s held a Rebuilding Shattered Lives members event on domestic abuse, sexual violence and women’s homelessness on Tuesday 16th October. The event was attended by practitioners from domestic/sexual violence agencies, homelessness services and other related sectors. A summary of feedback from the group work session is attached.

    1. DVSVeventnotes.doc
  25. Kate Moss

    Women Rough Sleepers is an EU DAPHNE-funded project which aims to increase the knowledge base related to domestic abuse suffered by Women Rough Sleepers. We are also working to develop knowledge transfer activities that equip organisations so that they can set up or adopt effective policy, strategies and services to meet the needs of Women Rough Sleepers. The project will lead to the development of an EU wide network to facilitate future collaboration, be a joined-up voice in this field and by offering a range of services assist in the further sharing, development and enhancement of knowledge and expertise in this field.

    In our research to-date, partner abuse has been extremely prominent in the experiences of women rough sleepers. In the UK, 70% had experienced partner abuse, and in other countries this was as high as 100% (Spain).

    To find out more about this project see: http://www.womenroughsleepers.eu/

  26. Laura Smith

    This is an interesting presentation about the interplay between local authority homelessness provision and domestic violence which was given by John Bentham from DCLG at a Homeless Link/St Mungo’s/Women’s Resource Centre Spotlight event on Homeless Women.

  27. Kristina Maki

    Bethany House is a supported housing scheme for homeless women. Our clients have varying support needs including drug and alcohol misuse, mental health, learning disabilities, and experience of domestic violence. We have also become increasingly aware that a high number of our clients have experienced some form of sexual violence and many are involved in prostitution. We therefore arranged training through Eaves on how to support clients involved in prostitution and work with them to exit if this is what they want to do. As a result of attending this training, a Project Worker at Bethany House and I began work on a policy that would provide a statement of how ICH views prostitution, namely as a form of violence against women and girls, and how staff will support their clients who are involved in prostitution. The policy provides keyworkers with a framework for the support they offer clients. It emphasises the fact that women involved in prostitution should be offered support to exit and that this should be presented to them as an option when they disclose involvement, rather than viewing prostitution as just another form of employment. The policy recognises other clients’ right to live in an environment free from prostitution, and the fact that many activities linked to prostitution are illegal. It therefore seeks to balance provisions for locality management with working in a client-centred way to support women involved in prostitution.

  28. OIWG

    Quotes from St Mungo’s Women’s Peer Research 2013:

    ‘They offered counselling to me before and I said no and then my keyworker said it might be good for me to speak about it, so I said yes. They even offer art therapy. So there’s two of them, one comes on Tuesday and one on Thursday and they offer sessions to the residents, people just put their names up for it. [You find that helpful?] It depends, its actually quite fun because you can talk about what you’ve gone through and then I remember there was the sound of a train and you put a couple of objects in and I didn’t think of it but the lady herself she kind of connected what had happened to me with what had happened to the image and I hadn’t really thought of it like that so she gave me a clearer picture. They get quite fun, she brings all materials with her, crayons, paints.’

    ‘I did a workshop for domestic violence when I was at one project. I got a certificate upstairs and they’ve asked me to do peer mentoring for it.’

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