Domestic abuse project (2019-22)

Housing is a critical issue for those fleeing abusive homes and relationships. Yet domestic and sexual abuse survivors frequently experience poor and/or unlawful treatment from local-authority homelessness services.

Housing officers routinely disbelieve survivors’ accounts or provide inaccurate or inadequate advice about rights and options. Local-authority decision making is often based on preconceived ideas and a poor understanding of Violence Against Women and Girls. The deliberate and unlawful ‘gatekeeping’ of statutory support by local authorities endangers the lives of women experiencing abuse.

Since 2019 PILC has been funded by the Baring Foundation to defend and enforce the rights of those escaping sexual and domestic abuse. This project aims to:

  • strengthen the capacity of the voluntary sector to support survivors of sexual and domestic abuse by providing second-tier advice, training and legal representation
  • develop strategic legal action to defend and enforce the housing rights of those escaping sexual and domestic abuse; an
  • empower survivors and activists to take action around domestic abuse

Along with partners including Solace Women’s Aid, we are working for structural change in the way applications for housing assistance are handled administratively, as well as a cultural and attitudinal shift in how victims and survivors of sexual and domestic abuse are treated when they approach their local council for support.