Improved housing support for domestic and sexual abuse victims

Scottish Housing Day 2020

To mark this year's Scottish Housing Day (16 September) Fife Council would like to highlight the issue of domestic abuse and remind people that support is available.

Domestic abuse is closely linked to repeat homelessness and has a significant impact on women and children’s health and wellbeing. Nationally, 11% of homeless people find themselves in this situation because of a dispute within the household: violent or abusive. Last year there were 4,436 incidents of domestic abuse and 944 sexual crimes in Fife reported to Police Scotland. The Covid 19 pandemic has led to an increase in reports of domestic abuse across Scotland.

The Women’s Health Improvement Research (WHIR) Project, together with Fife Housing Partnership, has been working with women who have experienced domestic abuse to improve housing support - including the reduction of homelessness.

Councillor Judy Hamilton, Convener of Communities and Housing Services Committee said: “We recognise that sexual and domestic abuse isn’t exclusive to women. However, as national research shows, it’s generally the woman and children who leave the home following this type of abuse.

“The Project has focused on staff having conversations earlier, as good housing advice at an early stage can help reduce homelessness. It’s important that we provide a range of options to ensure that woman and children are safe but also, where possible, to enable them to stay in the family home.  It’s important that we present women with options wherever possible and support them to make decisions – having options is empowering.  We have been developing practical solutions to help women sustain their settled living situation.”

Fife Council is working with Fife Housing Partners, including Fife Violence Against Women, to ensure the right support and advice is available when needed.

Kate McCormack, Manager of Fife Womens Aid said “We have been working closely with Fife Council throughout the Project – we have fed in the views of women who have experienced domestic abuse to make sure that changes to service improve the situation for other women experiencing domestic abuse".

Further information can be found on www.fife.gov.uk or www.fifehousingregister.org.uk/advice-domestic-abuse. There is also a range of support for anyone living with abuse available from the following organisations:

Fife Council Housing Service - 03451 550033

Fife Women’s Aid (women only) - 0808 802 5555

Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage helpline (men and women) - 0800 027 1234

Rape Crisis Helpline - 0808 801 0302

Fife Rape and Sexual Assault Centre 01592 642336

Included in picture from left to right

Top row - Sandra Brown, Project Officer (WHIR), Housing Service, Fife Council &  Cllr Judy Hamilton, Convener of Communities and Housing Services Committee

Bottom row  - Paul Short, Service Manager, Housing, Health & Social Care & Older Persons, Housing Services, John Mills, Head of Housing Services, Fife Council,and Kate McCormack, Manager, Fife Women's Aid