Homeless London mum ‘threatened with social services after fleeing abusive ex’

  • london
  • February 24, 2023
  • Comments Off on Homeless London mum ‘threatened with social services after fleeing abusive ex’
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A London mum claims she was told to ‘wait outside in the freezing rain for six hours’ when she pleaded for help from Lambeth Council after being left homeless.  

The anonymous woman, named as Jane, spoke of her heartbreak – claiming she was told she couldn’t be supported as she was not a British citizen. 

The mum-of-two was being stalked by her abusive ex-partner after she fled her home with her two daughters.

Jane left her six-year relationship after finding out he failed to pay the rent for four years. 

She endured years of abuse due to the impact of his gambling, heavy drinking and lies, but he refused to leave when she ended the relationship.

She told MyLondon he became ‘aggressive’ but police said they were unable to do much to help.

‘I called the police and they told him to leave, but they couldn’t stop him coming back without a court order because he was on the tenancy agreement,’ she added.

He continued to return several times but she claims police instead advised her to go to the council instead. 

She alleges when she pleaded for help from the council, they warned her the extended period of homelessness could see her case ‘transferred to social services’ meaning a ‘possibility’ her children would be taken away.

Recalling a visit to the council offices, Jane continued: ‘We waited for six hours outside in the freezing rain with my two children because I didn’t have any money to go somewhere and get a coffee. 

‘They didn’t care. I asked the officer, “Please can you just let us inside because it’s cold and raining.”‘

But she was reportedly refused.

When she later heard back from the council, she claims they would not support her as she wasn’t a British citizen, and citing ‘what she experienced was not domestic abuse’.

She said the temporary accommodation she and her children were given was dirty, cold and dangerous. 

‘It was a horrible place with just two mattresses, no sheets or blankets, in the middle of the winter in the freezing cold,’ Jane added.

‘Because I didn’t have money to buy some stuff I just went out in the road and I asked a lady who was passing to please help me to buy me like a blanket or something like just to cover us.’

A spokesperson for Lambeth Council said: ‘We apologise that the initial assessment was not good enough, and staff training has been arranged to ensure this does not happen again.

‘We are also introducing a face-to-face service for vulnerable applicants, including victims of domestic abuse, as we recognise that it is essential they have somewhere safe to go pending assessments.

‘We have reviewed our Housing Domestic Abuse Policy with colleagues from our Violence against Women and Girls programme and are committed to earning Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance accreditation to ensure that we do our very best to support victims of domestic abuse.’

The statement goes on to say that improving safety for women and girls is ‘a key priority’ for the council. 

‘In developing Lambeth’s updated strategy to tackle violence against women and girls we worked with those who have lived experience, as well as experts in the field,’ the spokesperson added.

‘But we know there is still much to do, in particular with regard to the impacts of the borough’s housing shortage.’

The Metropolitan Police was unable to provide a comment when contacted by Metro.co.uk.

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