SEA recognises that access to safe and affordable housing is vital for anyone escaping domestic abuse. Housing concerns can also become a method of control for perpetrators.

“When your home is threatened you are threatened and it’s really scary.” Victim-survivor

SEA has been a member of the ‘National Housing and Domestic Abuse Policy and Practice Group’ led by the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) since it was established in November 2017.

The Group brings together representatives from major homelessness, housing and domestic abuse organisations to ensure that:

  • The experience of survivors of domestic abuse is more prominent in the housing sector and helps shape improved and enhanced service delivery;
  • Women and children can access secure housing and good quality services when experiencing domestic abuse; and
  • Co-ordination exists between the housing and Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) sectors with regards to domestic abuse.

Together, the Group has submitted numerous responses to government consultations. You can access them all here.

Whole Housing Toolkit

SEA contributed the following chapters to DAHA’s Whole Housing Toolkit:

Briefings and policy responses

  • May 2021: A report by Northumbria University, commissioned by SEA, finds concerningly low rates of occupation orders being granted to restrict the abuser’s access to the family home. We produced a summary of the report’s key findings
  • April 2021: SEA responded to the Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping. We highlighted findings from our research The Cost of Covid-19 showing that survivors were struggling with rent and mortgage arrears, some respondents were homeless and/or sofa surfing, and reported that their housing situation had worsened as a result of the pandemic. The outcome was outlined in a final report with recommendations matching our calls for:  
    • measures to be put in place to prevent women experiencing economic abuse from being evicted because of rent arrears  
    • housing for migrant women through abolishing the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ rule 
    • more self-contained move-on accommodation from refuges.
  • September 2020: With Standing Together Against Domestic Abuse, SEA responded to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and The Property Ombudsman’s consultation on the Overarching Code of Practice for Residential Property Agents. Together we called for domestic abuse to be recognised in the new Code. Our response was published by the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA).  
  • June 2020: SEA submitted written evidence to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government COVID-19 inquiry. Please read the full briefing here.  
  • July 2019: As part of the Whole Housing Domestic Abuse project, we commissioned the University of Bristol to research the experiences of homeowners and private renters experiencing domestic abuse. The research included in-depth interviews with 251 victim-survivors of gender-based violence and abuse and found that much more needs to be done to support victims-survivors of domestic abuse who are homeowners or private renters. Read our summary of the findings.  
  • June 2019: SEA responded to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) consultation ‘Mortgage customers: proposed changes to responsible lending rules and guidance’. We called for survivors to be able to: 
    • switch their mortgage product when they are trapped on an expensive interest rate, despite being in arrears, in recognition that they may be in arrears due to economic abuse 
    • switch product without the agreement of the abuser, where the abuser is trying to sabotage the mortgage and it is in the best interests of both parties to do so. 
  • May 2019: The Government unveiled a new package of support for victims-survivors of domestic violence and abuse. It places a legal duty on local authorities to deliver support in accommodation-based services, backed by funding to place services on a sustainable footing. SEA responded to the consultation in August 2019. We also submitted a good practice example of our work to address coerced debt, highlighting to commissioners of violence against women and girls services that they must recognise the importance of economic stability within coordinated community responses to domestic abuse. 
“We were trapped there, he refused to leave.” Victim-survivor