Domestic abuse victims waiting hundreds of days for accommodation

Domestic abuse victims waiting hundreds of days for accommodation

Pam Gosal

A blueprint to tackle domestic abuse after new statistics revealed that “victims are being left in limbo” when they leave a violent household has been published by the Scottish Conservatives.

The party has launched a new policy paper alongside freedom of information responses showing that victims of domestic abuse are waiting hundreds of days for permanent accommodation.

An FOI request by Pam Gosal MSP has uncovered that victims of abuse are stuck in temporary accommodation for hundreds of days on average in most Scottish local authority areas.

The longest wait – on average – is 621 days, in Edinburgh Council.

In response, Ms Gosal has launched a new policy paper, United Against Violence, which includes a drive to end the scandal of abuse survivors being trapped in temporary accommodation.

The paper includes 12 recommendations for the Scottish Government to tackle domestic abuse and provide better support to victims, including:

  • Create a Violence Against Women Unit in Police Scotland
  • Order Police Scotland to treat violence against woman as a ‘national threat’
  • Deliver a dedicated women’s officer for every local authority
  • Change the law to treat coercive behaviour on a par with physical violence
  • Expand financial support for victims who want to leave abusive households

Ms Gosal is also bringing forward a Domestic Abuse (Prevention) Bill at Holyrood, which recently progressed to the next stage after gaining the support of more than 40 MSPs from across five different political parties including the SNP, Labour and Liberal Democrats.

She said: “These shocking statistics reveal that victims of abuse are being left in limbo for hundreds of days after fleeing a violent home.

“We must end the scandal of survivors being stuck in temporary accommodation for hundreds of days. Victims need confidence that they will have certainty and stability if they bravely choose to leave a violent household.

“My United Against Violence policy paper sets out how we can end this depressing situation, crack down on domestic abuse, and help more survivors to safely get out of violent homes and move on with their lives.

“This plan would give police more powers to tackle abuse, including establishing a dedicated unit to target offenders and designating extra female officers as points of contact for survivors.

“My proposals would strengthen the justice system to prevent offenders from avoiding prosecution, while also rolling out effective programmes to help more victims to come forward.

“We should all aspire to make Scotland a world-leader in tackling this abhorrent crime. I hope the SNP Government will consider these proposals so we can give victims of abuse the support they need to leave violent homes.”

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