If you have been following the saga of Bristol City Council’s FAILURE to rehouse ‘Ms X’, a young mum who has suffered horrific domestic abuse, then this is a must-read – it’s a statement from her, in her own words…
Three months ago with the aid of a friend I gained the strength to contact a domestic abuse organisation who have helped me to understand that I am a victim and this is not my fault.
I then made an application for Urgent Housing Needs to Bristol City Council, backed up by a referral from the domestic abuse organisation in support of my application. I hoped the process would be straight forward and that common sense would prevail – but this was not the case.
Firstly there was a delay in processing my application, and then the department lost the referral and I was placed in the lowest housing band, Band 5. The referral was resent by the domestic abuse organisation and I was eventually placed in Band 3.
During this disorganised chaos I was referred to the homeless section. This is the only part of the council where I feel that they have shown me any compassion for or understanding of my plight. I was offered a place in a women’s refuge, which I had to turn down. I am not willing to be forced into a refuge for the simple reason that I have a young child (who fortunately has never witnessed the abuse) who has regular contact with her father, who is not the abuser.
I should not have to disrupt my young child’s life or her father’s for my mistake in choosing the wrong partner – I just want to rebuild my life and provide stability for mine and my daughter’s future.
It seems people are telling me what is best for me. How do these people know what is best for me? Do I not have the freedom of choice? I am told there is nothing contained under Section 177 Housing Acts (1996) that states I must go in to a women’s refuge.
Since The Bristolian highlighted my campaign it has brought a great deal of support. The response of Mr Hooper & Mr Sylvester to this support is once again to offer me a refuge and deny me a property – so in over three months my housing application has made no further progress.
I now ask Mr Hooper and Mr Sylvester to do three things:
- Show me which part of the housing legislation states I must accept a place in a refuge;
- Show me one good reason why three months on that you are unable to provide me with proper accommodation;
- Show me any risk assessment you have carried out in reference to my situation.
To date I have had not one face-to-face meeting with a re-housing officer, although I have been informed by my advocate that a meeting is being organised to discuss my case. However, I would like to say that if the council intends only to offer me a refuge against my wishes yet again, please save the expense of travel as my decision is unchanged.
This process is affecting my mental health and well being, but I refuse to be a victim twice. I ask for nothing more than what the law of the land says I am entitled to, if I am not entitled to rehousing again I say show me the law you rely upon.
As you can see, it clearly REFUTES many of the lies and misrepresentations that have mysteriously been swirling around City Hall since this shameful episode blew up in public (and particularly since we emailed every councillor in the city to let them know what was going on).
Just imagine that ‘Ms X’ was your friend, your sister, your mum or aunt or daughter: subjected to sickening violence, and then abused a second time by a bunch of clueless bureaucrats with not an ounce of compassion or common sense between them.
Ms X shouldn’t have to take this shit, and nor should any woman, child or man.
Sadly its not the workers who are the problem it is the management who have bought in a useless new computer system and an equally useless set of rules. The people who work on the ground are caring and want to help but have had their hands tied by bureaucracy that makes their jobs impossible. Also, the constant threat of redundancies in a pared down service is impacting on all of this. And no I don’t work in the Housing Dept but know people who do and who are desperate as their jobs hang in the balance and they are covering unfulfilled vacancies.
Sadly it is not the likes of your friends its the overpaid twits above them please rest assured that this is fully understood