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Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing urged to support domestic abuse victims to stay safe in their own homes, by facilitating the rapid removal of perpetrators

Today, Police and Crime Commissioners, domestic abuse charities, housing organisations, academics, and local government representatives have written to the new Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Kelly Tolhurst, asking her to work with them to establish risk-managed housing solutions for perpetrators of domestic abuse that enable victims to stay safe in their own homes, while removing those causing harm.

The letter, signed by Drive, invites the Minister to work with the sector to make real the Home Secretary Priti Patel’s intention that, where possible and safe, “perpetrators should be the ones who have to leave the family home, not the supposed loved ones whom they torment and abuse.”

Without viable housing pathways, perpetrators are being evicted from one property, or released from prison, and in many cases, are navigating back to the victim’s home or staying with a vulnerable family member.

The letter – signed by several Police and Crime Commissioners, including London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime – also points out that sometimes police are unable to use Domestic Violence Protection Orders. These protection orders aim to remove perpetrators from the home but have no provision to ensure perpetrators have access to risk-managed accommodation. This is a significant problem that must be addressed for the new orders in the Domestic Abuse Bill to be fit for purpose.

In an associated report, about the importance of establishing mechanisms to remove perpetrators from homes in which they are being abusive, Rachel Williams, domestic abuse survivor and Pioneer for the charity SafeLives said:

“The offer has to be there for a victim to use refuge. But it should be choice alongside other choices – especially being able to be kept safe in your own home, where you’ve probably got a good set of neighbours who can look out for you. You know the layout of the house; you have a good network around you. My Nan lives on the corner. Neighbours can alert police.”

Director of Drive, Kyla Kirkpatrick said:

“We’re asking the Government to better support those victims of domestic abuse who have to and are able to leave – which in some cases will be the only safe option. We are also asking that victims are better supported to stay in their own home – when that is their expressed wish and where it is possible – so that the perpetrator goes. Why must adult and child victims be the ones to uproot their lives? It’s time we established cost-effective and risk-managed housing solutions for perpetrators, so they don’t return time and time again to past or current victims. We look forward to working with the Minister to give victims a choice to remain in their home and stay in their community and begin to live the life they want after domestic abuse.”

Please read the letter here.

Kyla Kirkpatrick, Director, The Drive Project

Suzanne Jacob OBE, CEO, SafeLives

Jo Todd, CEO, Respect

David Hutchison, CEO, Social Finance

Karen Evans, Chair, North East Hampshire Domestic Abuse Forum

Gudrun Burnet, CEO, Standing Together Against Domestic Abuse and Co-Founder, Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance

Kate Henderson, CEO, National Housing Federation

Polly Neate, Chief Executive, Shelter

Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor of London for Policing and Crime

Tom Copley, Deputy Mayor of London for Housing

David Jamieson, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner

Kim McGuinness, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Council Leader, London Borough Barking and Dagenham

Councillor Maureen Worby, Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health Integration, London Borough Barking and Dagenham

Superintendent Sharon Donald, Domestic Abuse Lead, Devon & Cornwall Police

Pragna Patel, Director, Southall Black Sisters

Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, CEO, Surviving Economic Abuse

Shigufta Kahn, CEO, The Wish Centre

Maureen Connolly, Chief Executive, Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid

Rebecca Bryant OBE, CEO, Resolve

Anthea Sully, CEO, White Ribbon UK

Abigail Ampofo, Director of Operations, Hestia

Michelle Hill, CEO, Talk Listen Change

Umme Imam, Executive Director, The Angelou Centre

Professor Amanda Robinson, Professor of Criminology, Cardiff University

Professor Marianne Hester OBE, University of Bristol

Fran Lewis MBE FCMI FRSA, Executive Director, Splitz Support Service

Hannah Hoare, Executive Director, The Blue Thread

Amanda McIntyre, CEO, The For Baby’s Sake Trust

Peter Glass, Executive Director of Operations, Cranstoun

Mark Brooks OBE, Chairman, The ManKind Initiative

Notes for editors

  • About Drive

Drive believes domestic abuse is not acceptable or inevitable. Drive works with high-harm, high-risk and serial perpetrators of domestic abuse to prevent their abusive behaviour and protect victims. ​Drive challenges these perpetrators to change and works with partner agencies – like the police and social services – to disrupt any ongoing abuse. ​

Drive advocates for changes to national systems so that perpetrators posing all levels of risk can no longer get away with abusive behaviour and can access the help they need to stop.

Drive was developed in 2015 by Respect, SafeLives, Social Finance – the Drive Partnership – to address a gap in work with high-harm perpetrators of domestic abuse. Drive is a national project, with service providers delivering the intervention in local areas. ​In every site, we partner with local specialist domestic abuse organisations to design and deliver a programme tailored for the locality. This work is done in partnership with statutory agencies such as the police, public health, and children’s social care. ​​

Drive has worked to develop sustainable funding models and projects have attracted statutory and philanthropic funders. Current and past funders include: Lloyds Bank Foundation for England and Wales, Comic Relief, Tudor Trust, Local Authorities and Police and Crime Commissioners. The project has benefited from Home Office funding from the Police Innovation and Transformation Funds. ​Drive has recently received funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to expand into three new sites.