Acording to Sisters Uncut there are 1,270 council homes empty in Southwark, yet the council turns away 47% of women who try and access safe and secure housing after experiencing domestic violence. They go further by stating that Southwark’s housing allocations policy gives no priority for council housing to women who have been made homeless due to domestic violence, so many are trapped in temporary accommodation for months or years if they are accepted for housing help.
Over twenty protesters from feminist group Sisters Uncut stormed Southwark Council’s Tooley Street offices at 4pm on 20th September 2016 to disrupt the quarterly Cabinet meeting. The protesters read out a statement demanding that councillors address gatekeeping practices in the borough, fund specialist services for BME and LGBTQ survivors and address the lack of refuge provision in Southwark.
Councillors and members of the public sat in silence while Sisters Uncut read out the names of all 138 women who have already been killed since August last year due to domestic violence, many becoming visibly upset. The group also read out its demands to Southwark Council regarding changes to its policy on housing for survivors of domestic abuse. The chair of the meeting Cllr Peter John OBE was booed by members of the public as he tried to interrupt the group the name reading. Following the protest, Southwark Council have agreed to a meeting set by Sisters Uncut on 9th November. Cllr for Housing Stephanie Cryan will be in attendance.
Sisters Uncut are demanding safe and secure housing for all survivors of domestic violence, and that survivors are given band 1 priority for allocation of council housing. The group also calls for funding for specialist BAME, disabled and LGBT+ services. Specialist service provision is vital for marginalised communities to get support that is responsive to their needs.
The Sisters are looking to hear from women and and non-binary people with experiences of Southwark council’s policy on domestic violence. You can contact them using the details below.