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Overcrowding in homes leads to family violence

Older children who can’t afford to move out clash with parents in 'another shocking sign of the damage the housing crisis is doing'

14 February, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Cllr Andy Hull: ‘Increasingly, we are seeing domestic violence and abuse perpetrated against parents or carers by their adult or teenage children’

OVERCROWDED homes in the borough have led to a rise in domestic violence, charities and Town Hall chiefs have claimed.

Charities that help vulnerable women in Islington say they have seen a rise in the number of cases where older children who have not been able to move out of their family home, “due to a lack of affordable housing”, have attacked their parents.

This has sparked fury from housing campaigners who say it is “another shocking sign of the damage the housing crisis is doing”.

As the Tribune previously reported, the number of domestic violence incidents in the borough has increased year on year from 2,193 in the 12 months to 2016, to 2,579 in the 12 months to 2019, according to Met Police data.

Campaigner and academic Glyn Robbins, who has written a book on the housing crisis, said: “This is another shocking sign of the damage the housing crisis is doing. We’ve known for years that children in overcrowded, unsuitable or insecure homes suffer – things like not having enough space to do homework or their asthma being made worse by damp.

“Now some of those children are growing and so can family tensions. But they can’t move out because housing in places like Islington is too expensive and there’s not enough council housing.

“Stories like this make me wonder what it will take for our politicians to take the housing crisis seriously and do something about it.”

The council has pledged to put £2m into services supporting women and girls involved in domestic violence over the next three years.

A council document seen by the Tribune said: “Those running the Samira project, which is the focused work the council commissions on VAWG [violence against women and girls] in BAMER [black, Asian, minority ethnic and refugee] communities, say that they are seeing more older victims who are experiencing abuse from adult children, often because they are still living with them when they get married and have their own children, with a lack of affordable housing leading to overcrowding and increased tensions within the family.”

Solace Women’s Aid charity, based in Brewery Road, Holloway, has reportedly seen an increase in demand for help from older women.

There has also been an increase in “child-to-parent” violence referrals to Islington’s DVA MARAC (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference) in recent years, it was noted by the council.

Cllr Andy Hull, the Town Hall’s crime and safety chief, said: “Increasingly, we are seeing domestic violence and abuse perpetrated against parents or carers by their adult or teenage children.

“That trend will be addressed by the major package of extra investment we have announced in work to tackle violence against women and girls.

“Specifically, we will be commissioning challenging one-to-one work with young people who have abused their parents or carers, as well as specialist group work with the parents, relatives and carers who have been on the receiving end of this unacceptable abuse.”

The Ministry of Housing was contacted for a response.


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