Debate on child protection and housing

We asked:- Do you think the Children Bill should be
amended to make formal links between child protection and housing

These are some of the comments we

“I do think the Children Bill should be amended to make
links between child protection and housing.  The rights of single
people to adequate housing should not be made to suffer
The television in my rented one-roomed flat talks to ‘home
owners’ in debt and investors in property. NSPCC ‘Stop
It!’ advertisements highlight a toddler who’s “learned
that no-one comes when he cries for help.”

Adults in UK poverty have no such not-for-profit broadcasting
advocate, even when we pay our license fees.”

Alan Wheatley

“I very much agree for child protection policy to be linked
to housing policy because from my experience there are a lot of
children who are suffering from emotional and behavioural
difficulties/underachievement in education, which is very much
linked to poor housing condition.”


“Social workers duties under the Children Act include keeping
together, if this is in the child’s interest. The housing
department does not
have this duty.

The Homeless Act 2002 imposes responsibilities for homelessness
on local
housing authorities to review and publish their strategies and
services to assist in their production. Reviews must consider
homelessness, securing accommodation. How do we audit any of this
to check
strategies are working? How many services jointly assess housing,
support needs, or protection issues?

As a Community Support Worker specialising in housing for a
Community Mental Health Team, I worked closely with the local
housing department and found developing a good relationship with
local housing associations who held most of the vacancies
was equally important.

However, I was shocked that a housing officer’s response to a
disabled person who
a Community Psychiatric Nurse had asked me to assist with housing
regarding a situation of domestic violence and three young children
was:- “If you leave, you make yourself
intentionally homeless and we then have no housing duty.”

Yet a person who suffers domestic violence and leaves in
consequence of an
act of someone else – is not doing so deliberately and therefore
they are
not making themselves intentionally homeless. In fact they have a
need as a result of being vulnerable, (Homelessness Order 2002),
let alone
as a result of having a physical disability and dependent

Relationship breakdown due to domestic violence is a major cause
homelessness, and in 2002, 64 per cent of all homeless households
reported as families with children (Brayne & Carr, p.638).

An injunction can be obtained requiring the perpetrator of
violence to leave
the property, or housing association can evict and this person is
treated as
intentionally homeless, because they caused it, but even abusers
can be
assisted to find somewhere else to live.”

H. Brayne &  H. Carr,  Law for Social Workers (Oxford,
R. Johannsen


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