International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
Every year, a “16 days of activism” campaign against gender-based violence begins on 25th November and ends on International Human Rights Day: 10th December.
Gender-based violence is widespread and remains largely unreported due to the stigma surrounding it. Those who experience gender-based violence, face severe psychological, sexual and reproductive health consequences. While it can happen to anyone, women from marginalised groups, such as LGBTIQ+ women, ethnically marginalised women, migrants and refugees and disabled women are particularly vulnerable.
It is of course a crucial issue for the homelessness sector.
Domestic abuse is a primary trigger of homelessness amongst women, particularly when combined with financial insecurity . Among women who have slept rough, experiences of violence are near universal. It is therefore common for the homelessness sector to support survivors of domestic abuse and gender-based violence, and there have been many examples of specialist projects including the respite rooms pilot and services funded by the ending women’s homelessness fund.
Unfortunately, survivors of domestic abuse are often given sole responsibility for managing their own safety, when perpetrators should also be held accountable for their actions. Women living in ‘Your Place Newham’, a supported accommodation project, explained there are often expectations on survivors to leave their abusive relationships, which can be complicated by the dynamics of exploitation and their ‘feelings of love and care for abusive partner’. The women valued support that listened to them and respected their wishes.
Trauma experienced by women affected by gender-based violence has a long-lasting impact, and shame that may be experienced can be unintentionally embedded by services that do not fully understand the dynamic of domestic abuse. Resources that can be used by services to develop understanding and support include:
- Our training around ‘Domestic Abuse and Homelessness’ which is packed with useful ideas around the dynamics of domestic abusive and how to provide effective support to people experiencing domestic abuse in the sector.
- DAHA’s accreditation framework for homelessness settings and new guidance about working with perpetrators, launched at an event on 28th November.
- Explore these resources around supporting women experiencing homelessness and keep an eye out for further information.
What else you can do?
Familiarising yourself with the issue of violence against women, including but not limited to domestic abuse, is the beginning6.
Use the 16 days of action to promote awareness of violence against women in your service.
Take action by reviewing your policies and making sure all staff are confident and capable of handling difficult cases.
Celebrate what has gone well, but also look for where things can be even better.
Supporting staff affected by Domestic Abuse
Homeless Link are members of the Employers Initiative of Domestic Abuse (EIDA), a network of employers that take effective action against domestic abuse, Homeless Link ran a workshop for our staff which covered what domestic abuse is, spotting the signs and how to help and support employees. If you would like to find out more about EIDA or are interested in becoming a member, visit their website here.
Latest News from
Coaching Spotlight: Steve Sylvan19/02/2024 11:10:00
Having someone to really listen to you – your challenges, goals and aspirations – can be transformational to how you work and your wider life.
Homelessness & Shadow Homelessness Ministers to speak at Parliamentary Lobby16/02/2024 10:20:00
Both the Homelessness Minister Felicity Buchan and the Shadow Homelessness Minister Mike Amesbury have confirmed they will address attendees of Homeless Link and Riverside Housing's upcoming Parliamentary lobby on March 5th at the Emmanuel Centre in Westminster.
Events: Gendered Lens for Homelessness Services14/02/2024 14:10:00
This month Homeless Link will be publishing a new framework and toolkit to help homelessness services become more gender informed.
Connecting local issues to national solutions in Milton Keynes08/02/2024 10:05:00
By Frances Parry, Vice Chair at the Bus Shelter MK
February is LGBTQIA+ History Month05/02/2024 11:10:00
LGBTQIA+ History Month allows time for reflection and celebrates Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual History . It’s also a chance to raise awareness and highlight the issues people from these communities face.
Housing First research highlights huge cross-sector impact02/02/2024 11:15:00
The trauma of long-term homelessness, poverty and social exclusion means a small but significant cohort of people see their needs consistently unmet by traditional homelessness services. These individuals typically have significantly worse physical and mental health compared to both the general public and other people experiencing homelessness. This is exacerbated by the cycles of rough sleeping, temporary accommodation, prison stays and hospital admissions that often mark their lives.
People who are currently or have previously injected drugs urged to order a free Hep C testing kit02/02/2024 10:15:00
Hepatitis C is a bloodborne virus that can cause life-threatening liver disease and cancer. However, those infected often have no symptoms until many years later, when their liver is badly damaged. Also, when symptoms do occur, they can often be non-specific, such as tiredness or loss of appetite, so can be dismissed. Early detection and treatment can also reduce the risk of passing the virus onto others.
Meeting people where they are: outreach principles to support people sleeping rough01/02/2024 10:25:00
Rough sleeping outreach services are designed to meet people where they are, both geographically and emotionally. As FEANTSA states, outreach “is the work done with (not for or to) people experiencing homelessness, which happens outside the traditional settings of homelessness services”. Outreach is a more flexible approach to support compared to building based services, with the ability to target the most marginalised people.
Devastating rough sleeping increase in London as underfunded homelessness services struggle31/01/2024 14:20:00
On 31 January, the CHAIN homelessness database published its quarterly report detailing levels of rough sleeping in London between October and December 2023. CHAIN is the UK’s most detailed and comprehensive rough sleeping database.