Domestic violence affects communities across all London boroughs and leaves a devastating impact on survivors, their families and the wider communities. Abuse can take many forms, including emotional and psychological abuse, physical and sexual violence, coercive and controlling behaviour, including financial abuse. Children are deeply affected by living with domestic violence and the harm experienced from witnessing abuse as a child is wide-ranging and well documented.
In London, reports of domestic abuse offences have been on the increase and currently account for 1 in 10 recorded crimes across the capital. Over 76,000 domestic abuse offences were recorded in London in 2017 with high levels of repeat victimisation, due to domestic abuse being a pattern of a behaviour, rather than a one-off incident.
The local authorities role
Local authorities have an important to play in tackling domestic abuse, both in commissioning and providing vital services. Core local authority services all handle situations of domestic and sexual violence on a daily basis and are key partners in the multi-agency approaches to tackling domestic and sexual violence. These can include:
- MASH and MARAC
- Children or Adult social care teams
- Housing and Homelessness
- ASB teams
- Schools and other educational settings
- Drug/alcohol services
Specialist VAWG services are commissioned by local authorities to provide specialist support and safe accommodation to survivors of domestic violence, such as refuge and advocacy support. Many local authorities also commission perpetrator interventions, such as behavioural change programmes, in line with the Home Office's National Statement of Expectation.
Housing and Refuge
Housing is a critical element of effective domestic and sexual violence interventions, including refuge provision . Refuges are commissioned by local authorities and provide safe accommodation for women and children fleeing domestic violence with specialist support on hand to help them recover and rebuild their lives.
Local authorities also have an important role in helping victims to access safe accommodation through their housing and homelessness departments. These duties have been expanded with the implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act from April 2018.
Routes to Support Research
London Councils' Grants Programme funds Women’s Aid to carry out research on the provision and use of domestic violence services in London using the Routes to Support Database. The Routes to Support database holds up-to-date information on domestic abuse services across the UK and lists current refuge vacancies.
The current strand of research takes a closer look at pathways of women moving in and out of refuge in London boroughs and gathers additional data from London providers. London Councils funds this research to support boroughs and to offer a pan-London picture to inform wider strategic and commissioning aims around provision.
For more information, please contact our team.
Pan London Housing Reciprocal
The Pan-London Housing Reciprocal is a voluntary collaboration between London boroughs and registered housing providers in London, co-ordinated centrally by Safer London. This innovative collaboration allows social housing tenants who are at risk of domestic violence and other forms of abuse to move to another London borough without losing their secure tenancy. After its first year, the Pan-London Housing Reciprocal has facilitated more than 100 successful moves between 2016 - 17.
For more information or to make a referral, visit the Safer London website