Cabinet will meet this week to agree a £4.2million investment in pay for frontline adult social care workers.
Long-term plans for domestic abuse safe accommodation unveiled
People who have lived with and experienced domestic abuse in Sheffield have helped shape the city’s latest long-term plan for providing safe accommodation.
It will mean that the council will assess and make arrangements for accommodation-based support, provide that support and monitor and evaluate how effective it is over the next three years.
Known as the Domestic Abuse and Safe Accommodation Strategy 2021-24, the plan is informed by stakeholders as well as survivors of domestic abuse and required by law under the new Domestic Abuse Act (DA) 2021.
Sheffield currently has 37 units of women’s refuge accommodation and 17 units specifically for young women and their children. These are provided by Sheffield Women’s Aid and the Young Women’s Housing Project. There is also a Safe Zones dispersed safe accommodation project that offers support and housing targeted to male victims and LGBT+ people. This is provided by IDAS, the largest specialist charity in Yorkshire. IDAS also provide the city’s Sanctuary Scheme to enable people to get support to be safe in their own homes as well as offering support to people in dispersed safe accommodation provided by the council.
The new funding under the DAA means that we are now also working with voluntary sector and other providers such as Haven, START, Shelter, Citizens Advice, Paradigm, Sheffield Mind, Sheffield Futures, SAYiT and Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre to improve support to victims and their children to help them on the road to recovery from abuse.
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse is a gendered crime and is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality. Women are more likely to be highly victimised and suffer fatal domestic abuse compared with male victims. However, there are thousands of male victims in Sheffield and there are likely to be more than we know about. The council will be doing further work to make a more accurate estimate about the prevalence of male victims in Sheffield.
Disabled people are twice as likely to experience domestic abuse than people who aren’t disabled so our key priority will also be to improve our data collection and analysis so that we meet their needs.
We have many BAMER victims and survivors accessing safe accommodation and we will work with BAMER communities and groups to understand this and address the harm caused by domestic abuse. There are issues such as so called ‘Honour’ Based Abuse and Forced Marriage that disproportionally affect certain communities and faith groups in the city. We are aware that our understanding of this needs to improve and have recently been reassured that a large proportion of those accessing domestic abuse safe accommodation and support felt that the service they received was respectful of their religion and it met their cultural needs.
Sheffield’s Call it Out Project has helped us understand more about the barriers facing LBGT+ survivors of abuse and we want to build on the project’s awareness raising to increase trust in local services in this community.
For every victim in Sheffield there is at least one perpetrator, and we will be managing the housing needs of perpetrators in order to keep victims and their children safe.
During the pandemic in 2020/21 there were 692 homeless presentations because of domestic abuse, and we estimate that this number could increase to somewhere between 618 and 1,350 by 2030.
Councillor George Lindars-Hammond, Executive Member for Health and Social Care, said: “It’s really important that we provide these city-wide, high quality support services. It’s what victims and survivors of domestic abuse and their children deserve and need. Thousands of people, including children, are affected by domestic abuse every year in Sheffield and this extra funding means that we can increase the excellent provision that we already have here to make sure they are supported in the right way. Domestic abuse over the past year was highest in the younger age group, 14% of females aged 16-19. There are also barriers for those aged over 60 for reporting domestic abuse and accessing safe accommodation so we must be careful not overlook the older adult age group in the work that do relating to domestic abuse.”
To seek support for yourself or a friend or family member contact Sheffield’s Domestic Abuse Helpline (http://www.idas.org.uk/) on 0808 808 2241
The Domestic Abuse and Safe Accommodation Strategy 2021-24 is here at the DACT website
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