Derbyshire Dales sees rise in families facing housing crisis due to domestic abuse during pandemic

Newly published figures have revealed how domestic abuse pushed dozens of Derbyshire Dales residents into housing emergencies during the pandemic, amid a nationwide spike in such cases.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 2:52 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 2:52 pm

Data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) for the 12 months ending March 2021 show Dales authorities found three households had become homeless, while 24 needed help to avoid losing their home because of domestic abuse.

The 27 families who needed housing help for that reason was six more than the previous year.

Across England, councils received 31,180 requests for help from households who had lost their accommodation or were threatened with homelessness due to domestic abuse over the same period – a 17 per cent increase on the year before. Almost half were households with children.

Charities working with domestic abuse survivors say more must be done to address their housing needs.

The spike has prompted charities in the sector to call for more funding to help survivors of abuse.

Sophie Francis-Cansfield, of Women’s Aid, said: “It’s shocking that, in 2021, women fleeing domestic abuse still face the terrifying prospect of either returning to their perpetrator or facing homelessness.

“We continue to face a shortage of bed spaces in specialist refuge services, and this has a huge impact for women at a time when they are most in need of support.”

The Government says it is spending an "unprecedented" £750million on tackling rough sleeping and homelessness and that the MHCLG figures showed a 7.3 per cent drop in families needing support in the year to March.

But Mark Brooks, chairman of the ManKind initiative, which supports male victims of domestic abuse, said the figures were particularly concerning in light of the drop in homelessness as a whole.

He said: “The key is to make sure that victims have more access to safe accommodation and we need new housing reforms to work.”

A MHCLG spokesman said: “We’re ensuring councils provide specialist support, so those who leave their home to escape domestic abuse have somewhere safe to go and we’re backing this with £125m funding – alongside a £3.7m Respite Room trial, providing safe housing and support for victims at risk of sleeping rough.”