St Mungo’s has signed a joint letter to Dame Louise Casey, who is spearheading the Government’s rough sleeping and COVID-19 taskforce, calling for a focus on the next steps for women and survivors of domestic abuse who are self-isolating in hotel rooms.
Alongside other leading domestic abuse, LGBT, homelessness and housing agencies, St Mungo’s is urging the taskforce to work with the specialist violence against women and girls (VAWG) sector and provide leadership, guidance and resources to local authorities working to safely house women and survivors during this next phase of the COVID-19 response.
A 2018 evidence review by the University of York for St Mungo’s found that “experience of domestic violence and abuse is near-universal among women who become homeless”. The government’s action to bring ‘everyone in’ could be a unique chance to support and safely house homeless survivors who are too often hidden from help.
A tailored approach for women and survivors must include women-only accommodation, specialist domestic abuse and VAWG support and additional security measures for safety. Without these measures, moving on from the hotels will leave women and survivors at risk of returning to the streets or their abusers.
St Mungo’s is calling for safe and secure housing and support for women and survivors as part of our No Going Back campaign. No one should have to return to the streets or their abusers after lockdown ends.