New research from national charity for homeless people, “Crisis” finds that almost one in four female sleepers has suffered sexual assault in the past year.
The report which made findings from a survey of 458 recent or current rough sleepers in England and Wales and a total of 72 women in all, showed that almost 6 in 10 women have been intimidated or threatened with violence in the past year; a higher figure in comparison to 4 out of 10 male sleepers.
The housing spokesman for the Local Government Association, Cllr Martin Tett, said:
“It is a tragedy when anyone becomes homeless and we know many people sleeping rough will be vulnerable to crime and exploitation and are likely to have complex support needs.
“Councils have been working hard to tackle domestic abuse and people who are homeless as a result of fleeing domestic violence can access services provided jointly with local partners including the police, health and the voluntary sector, while the government’s commitment to more mental health spending is a step in the right direction but it must ensure it reaches people it is designed to reach.”
He spoke further about councils wanting welfare reforms to be reviewed to put impacts of homelessness into consideration as well as the need of a housing policy that would help all partners to increase the homes they build across all tenures.
“…To end homelessness, the government needs to give councils more powers and funding to resume their historic role as a major builder of affordable homes and to address the widening gap between incomes and rents.”
According to the Director of Services at Crisis, Rebecca Pritchard:
“The Homelessness Reduction Bill currently making its way through parliament could help put an end to that injustice” – of people being turned away when they go to their councils for help – “once and for all.”
She also urged “peers of all political persuasions to offer their support as it moves through the Lords”.
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