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New service for women experiencing domestic abuse

Wheatley’s Andrea Williams is currently on secondment to HomeFinder UK to help launch Revive Scotland – a new move-on service for women experiencing domestic abuse. In her blog post, she tells us what it’s about and how it will help women experiencing domestic abuse.

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By Andrea Williams, Wheatley Group. 

In Scotland, there were nearly 63,000 incidents of domestic abuse recorded by police last year. Every year, nearly 130,000 people in Scotland experience domestic abuse, with more than 9,000 people at risk of being murdered or seriously harmed by a partner or ex-partner.

Domestic abuse remains a major cause of women’s homelessness in Scotland – it is the third most common reason given on a homelessness application. One of the hardest things about being abused by a partner is being deprived of choices. Choosing what to wear, what to eat, where to go, who you can talk to and visit. So, when women make the decision to leave an abusive relationship, getting your choices back really matters.

As your home is such an important cornerstone of your life, giving people a choice over where they live is one of the most empowering things we can provide to those affected by domestic abuse.

After all, so many things in life revolve around your home: where you work, your social circle, and where your children go to school.

Within the social housing sector, we should be actively supporting victims who have taken the decision to leave an abusive relationship to source and secure more suitable accommodation, which is ultimately safer for them and their children. That is why Wheatley is so excited to launch the Revive Scotland project in partnership with Homefinder UK, all thanks to funding from the Scottish Government. Funded by the Scottish Government and administered by SFHA, Revive Scotland is an expansion of Homefinder UK’s move-on service for domestic abuse survivors, Revive.

Its aim is to give women who have survived domestic abuse a fresh start in a different part of the country chosen by them. For example, it might be that they want to be closer to family, or to a new job, or a school for their children, outside their current local authority, and Revive Scotland aims to facilitate this. Whatever the reason, they will be given help to find a home in their chosen area quickly, with wraparound support added to provide them with whatever they need to successfully make the move and sustain their new tenancy. So that could mean setting up an appointment with a local welfare benefits advisor, connections with a school, so children are able to settle quickly, or even sourcing funding to meet moving costs. It is about making it as seamless as possible for survivors who have already been through so much and experienced trauma by an abusive partner.

Revive has been running in England since 2018 and, in two years, has helped over 120 domestic abuse survivors who were homeless or threatened with homelessness to find a new home. One woman told them: “Thanks to Revive, my son and I finally have somewhere to call home”.

Domestic abuse is a crime that causes devastating effects in the lives of the people who experience it. They can lose their confidence, their voice, their money. But with the right support and a safe place to live, this can help to empower survivors to begin to recover from their trauma and start to build a new life and future.

The Revive Scotland service will officially launch on 27 July 2021.

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