Pan-Sussex Strategy for Domestic Abuse Accommodation and Support 2021-2024

Summary of recommendations

The recommendations made throughout the Strategy have been summarised below. The delivery of these recommendations will be subject to the ongoing availability of New Burdens Funding.

Consistent and Collaborative:

  1. Inconsistencies and gaps in service provision across Sussex should be addressed to reflect local demand and needs, in line with national policies and initiatives.
  2. The consistency and quality of data collection must be improved across all services by establishing clear reporting requirements, unique client identifiers and pragmatic data sharing agreements.
  3. Housing Teams must be regularly represented at MARAC, alongside other relevant organisations.
  4. Sussex local authorities should promote collaboration in the development of procedures and service models, including move-on pathways and co-located IDVAs. Wherever practical, Sussex authorities should jointly commission domestic abuse safe accommodation and support, to ensure consistency and value for money.
  5. Victims/survivors must be able to actively participate in the design and commissioning of domestic abuse safe accommodation and support services, for example through the Lived Experience Board.

 Diverse and Appropriate:

  1. Sussex local authorities should provide more domestic abuse accommodation spaces for women and their children, according to the Council of Europe’s minimum standards.
  2. A broader menu of domestic abuse safe accommodation options, in line with a Whole Housing Approach, should be developed in Sussex. Consideration should be given to reflecting rural and urban community needs in any service design and that all accommodation options are appropriate and quality assured.

 Accessible and Inclusive:

  1. Sussex local authorities should ensure that every form of domestic abuse safe accommodation that accepts children is suitable for their needs, offering dedicated, personalised and holistic support for children and young people, including those with disabilities and protected characteristics.
  2. Specialist safe accommodation and support for victims/survivors aged 16-25 should be established and be culturally appropriate for anyone fleeing forced marriage and so-called honour-based violence, including couples accommodation where needed.
  3. Offers of support should be tailored more directly to older people across Sussex, including more generic language, broader promotion of support, linking in with other support services and targeted training for front-line professionals who routinely come into contact with older people.
  4. All victims/survivors and their children in safe accommodation in Sussex should receive a minimum standard of care and support, to include legal aid, move-on assistance and longer-term IDVA and psychological support.
  5. Sussex local authorities will explore options for the provision of specialist, dispersed and self-contained units of safe accommodation that can accommodate male victims/survivors of domestic abuse.
  6. Sussex local authorities should increase specialist floating support and dispersed and self-contained units of safe accommodation that can accommodate LGBTQ+ victims/survivors and invest in LGBTQ+ awareness training for frontline practitioners.
  1. Support and accessibility for disabled victims/survivors in safe accommodation should be improved, by introducing multi-agency in-reach teams where needed, developing new facilities or adapting existing facilities, with measures such as installing ramps, increasing ground-floor and step-free units and installing visual fire alarms to assist deaf people.
  2. Housing application processes should be accessible for those with disabilities, including those with special educational needs or speech, language and communication needs, and include optional in-person appointments and interpretation for a range of languages, including British Sign Language.
  3. Sussex local authorities will investigate specialist safe accommodation options for victims/survivors from marginalised ethnic groups, including Black and minoritised ethnic groups, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities and those with No Recourse to Public Funds.
  4. Cultural and immigration rights awareness training should be increased for frontline staff and commissioners to better understand the needs of marginalised groups. Training packages must acknowledge the intersection of race, class and gender, amongst other protected characteristics.

 Responsive to Multiple Disadvantages:

  1. Sussex local authorities, specialist domestic abuse accommodation providers and support services should holistically support victims/survivors with multiple complex needs and ensure accessibility of services by providing both remote and in-person assessments and support.
  2. Accommodation and support options appropriate for the needs of domestic abuse victims/survivors with multiple complex needs will be explored, including short-term respite facilities, specialist housing, move-on pathways and long-term floating support.

Person-centred:

  1. Victims/survivors should be able to remain in their home if they choose to, and it is safe to do so, by ensuring Sanctuary Schemes are available in all local authority areas as part of a wider support and safety package.
  2. Sussex local authorities will explore options for the re-housing of perpetrators and enforcement of loss of tenancies, alongside promoting domestic abuse perpetrator behavioural programmes.
  3. Awareness and availability of Whole Family interventions should be increased in Sussex.

 Trauma-informed:

  1. Ensure that consistent domestic abuse and trauma-informed practice training packages are developed for frontline practitioners within housing authorities, housing associations and registered social landlords, with an aim to deliver the offer more widely.
  2. Each local authority area will explore the potential of a single point of contact approach or introduction of a directory for victims/survivors accessing different services.
  3. Sussex local authorities will consider co-locating housing specialists within domestic abuse safe accommodation and support services, where required.