Domestic abuse victims told to 'live with abuser' or face homelessness in Kent
Victims of domestic abuse who turn to their local councils for help are being told to go back to the homes they share with their abusers.
Councils in Kent have allegedly been telling them they have no responsibility to house anyone who has made themselves "intentionally homeless" — leaving some still fighting for a permanent home after two years.
One such victim, Paige, was deemed 'not homeless' twice by Medway Council as she still had tenancy in the property where she was abused. She says her abuser has now moved out, but only lives a mile away. She is appealing the decision again while sofa surfing with her son as she is unable to find somewhere to rent.
She said: "I don't know why they feel like it is safe for me to return to the property I fled from... "I'm petrified for mine, my sons and my unborn child's life. I don’t feel safe going back and I’m not going to put my children at risk of returning."
A Medway Council spokesman said Paige has a right to appeal the decision, but the council, police and other agencies agree she is safe to return to the property. In another incident, a woman from Dartford told KentOnline she jointly owned a home with her abuser so was refused housing when she fled.
After losing her job and being refused benefits, she funded her own legal representation over the forced sale of the property, putting her in massive debt.