Domestic abuse is prevalent; one in four women and one in six men will be victims of domestic abuse in their life time. Finding the right place to live can be a huge challenge for victims and survivors: finding housing, keeping it, ensuring it’s safe and appropriate.
I’m Natalie and I currently work for a national domestic abuse charity called SafeLives. I have worked in the domestic abuse sector for over ten years and I’ve just been seconded to Shared Lives Plus to work on a new domestic abuse project. Funded by the ‘tampon tax’, we’re going to be working in partnership over the next two years to provide an alternative accommodation option to victims and survivors of domestic abuse. We know that housing issues can place a massive barrier in the way of victims, either when trying to leave an abusive relationship or when trying to move on from previous abuse.
We want to be able to offer an additional option to women; a new innovative project that increases their choice as well as their safety.
We hope that one answer to this is Shared Lives. Someone in need - any need – could live in a safe and secure home, where they can see what a healthy relationship looks like, modelled day-to-day by their Shared Lives carers. Shared Lives has been used in the past by people with learning disabilities and others who have been victims of abuse and we are confident that it could also help people who have experienced domestic abuse.
Over the next few weeks, I’m looking for three Shared Lives schemes to act as ‘demonstrator sites’ for this new idea and if you are interested, please let me know. We will be working closely with domestic abuse services, partner agencies, schemes and carers. And, the most important people, victims and service users – that’s a lot of people to talk to!
This is a hugely interesting project and I’m incredibly excited to be part of it; being able to give victims as much choice as possible, helping them build better lives for themselves and their families, can only be a good thing. You might have questions about how this will work, how it will be funded, how risk will be managed…I’m more than happy to be contacted with any questions so please do get in touch if this sounds like an innovation you’d be interested in getting involved in: