Gudrun Burnet: empowering survivors of domestic abuse to access safe housing
Numerous reports have shown that domestic abuse has risen during the pandemic, whilst a recent Women's Aid survey found that 20% of survivors tried to leave their homes during the pandemic but were unable to access alternative suitable housing. A survey from the charity Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA) additionally showed that, of those who needed housing advice, 41% could not access it and over half were concerned about their housing situation due to the perpetrator's actions. With the recent legislative changes around housing and evictions, arising from the pandemic, many domestic abuse survivors are confused about their rights.
Gudrun Burnet from Chertsey in Surrey is the CEO of the charity Standing Together Against Domestic Abuse, and the co-founder of the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA).
She will use the grant to deliver a housing law education programme for survivors of domestic abuse and domestic abuse workers. The programme will empower survivors to exercise their rights when dealing with housing problems and increase the capacity of workers to support survivors in securing safe and stable housing. This in turn will help provide safety and recovery for survivors, whilst reducing homelessness. The programme will be delivered online by Law For Life, a charity dedicated to ensuring that people have the knowledge, confidence and skills needed to secure access to justice, in conjunction with DAHA and SEA. The programme will be tailored to incorporate the latest legislation around evictions and other relevant housing topics for domestic abuse survivors. Following this, resources will be created for domestic abuse services, who will be able to access the programme. Gudrun's Churchill Fellowship to Australia, Canada and the USA in 2016 explored international practice around domestic abuse and housing, and was supported by the National Housing Federation.