Petition is successful with 2,377 signatures
To: Bristol City Council & Mayor Marvin Rees
Change Social Housing Banding For Domestic Abuse Survivors
UPDATE: 16/03/16 - We won! Last night we heard the great news that Bristol council voted in favour of our motion. Survivors of domestic abuse in Bristol are now to be given top priority to be rehoused.
Thank you all so so much for your support. Can't quite believe it, hasn't sunk in yet.
Bristol City Council need to change the social housing banding for victims of domestic abuse to the highest priority banding, Band 1. Currently people living in safe houses and refuges are not prioritised for rehousing.
Why is this important?
‘The Home Office estimates that 14,273 women and girls in Bristol have been a victim of domestic abuse in the past year’ (Bristol Ideal: 2015).
For the women who have to flee from domestic abuse there are some fantastic support networks in Bristol that supply ‘emergency’, ‘temporary’ accommodation in safe houses and women’s refuges. I myself was living within a safe house in Bristol with my one year old son when I started this petition. It took me almost a year to move out and that is relatively quick as many women I left behind have been there 2 years and counting.
Currently women and families living in temporary housing that need help from social housing to move on are not given priority. This petition is to get Bristol City Council to change the banding criteria to put vulnerable women and children into the highest band, Band 1. Despite being officially classed as homeless and at risk, the current highest banding we can be put into is Band 2. Not all women even get up to Band 2! This petition has got us some great attention and coverage and the issue was out to Bristol City Council in March as a motion to change the banding. A vote was taken and we got a unanimous yes vote. We thought we had won and the change would be made. Unfortunately politics is never that simple.
The then mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, did not action the motion so it was not put through. As the local councillor and mayoral elections were coming up we knew we would not see a change happen till after May. So continuing to campaign we attended mayoral hustings, posed questions on radio programmes and used social media to reach out to all the mayoral candidates to give a response to this band change. All were extremely positive about making this change and promised to see it happen. Marvin Rees, the new mayor of Bristol, went as far as putting it into his campaign manifesto to become mayor. Now he is in power, and has been for over 100 days, we still have not seen the band change! So now we are calling on him to make good on his promise and help save many lives.
With the startling, but sadly well known, statistic that on average 2 women per week are killed nationally as a result of domestic abuse, it’s time more action was taken to improve services. Bristol City Council needs to give priority banding to re house survivors of domestic abuse to literally save lives. According to Women’s Aid (online), ‘the most dangerous time for a woman is when she is trying to escape her abuser’. Having to wait months to get into emergency accommodation is not good enough. Having to wait years to get out of emergency accommodation is not good enough.
Please sign this petition to make Marvin Rees stick to his promise and make this important change !