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NEW HOMELESSNESS DOMSTIC ABUSE RESPONSE TEAM

October 26, 2005 2:06 PM

Women fleeing from domestic violence will receive a fast track to safe accommodation thanks to an innovative new programme to be launched by the Glasgow Homelessness Partnership. The one-year pilot project RESPONSE aims to divert victims of abuse away from homelessness by intervening more directly at an early stage. Backed by £320,000 of funding from the Glasgow Homelessness Partnership, RESPONSE will provide a fully flexible round-the-clock service for both women on their own and those with children. The service will employ a staff of eighteen and be based at the Hamish Allan Centre, one of Glasgow's main contact points for people who present as homeless. The unique aspect of RESPONSE is that the emergency side of the service will be operated on an outreach basis, with the sixteen-strong pool of out-of-hours staff taking the service to where it is required. A minimum of four temporary furnished flats will always be available every day with on-call staff carrying the keys to allow immediate access at any time. Transport will also be provided to ensure they can reach the flat straight away. These measures will remove the need for the women and their children to present in person at the Hamish Allan Centre, which can deter them from making the break from an abusive home life. They will also reduce the chances of a woman being trailed by her abuser and end the need to use bed and breakfast accommodation for vulnerable women and their children. Once safely in temporary accommodation, a highly coordinated follow-up programme will be triggered to ensure the woman and any children are moved on to permanent housing. Catherine Jamieson, Head of the Glasgow Homelessness Partnership, said, "The fear of becoming homeless is a major factor in preventing the victims of domestic abuse from making a break from a violent home life. "But RESPONSE aims to remove that barrier by offering a clear route towards a secure home that adapts to the needs of the woman. Thanks to RESPONSE those who suffer domestic abuse can now be assured that we will always be able to intervene rapidly and give them somewhere safe to go." The pilot is due to go live on Monday, 31 October following extensive preparatory work by the Glasgow Homelessness Partnership and other key agencies such as the Violence Against Women Partnership, Women's Aid and the ASSIST support team at Glasgow's Domestic Abuse Court. This week key staff at the Hamish Allan Centre were visited by Scottish Executive Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm, who is taking a keen interest in the programme. Mr Chisholm said: - "Women fleeing domestic abuse rightly have a priority need for housing and this project will ensure their needs are met promptly. RESPONSE is a practical example of where agencies are working together to help people in the most difficult, traumatic of circumstances." Ends Notes to Editors: - RESPONSE can be contacted 24-hours-a-day through the free phone number 0808 202 1162. Glasgow's nine Community Casework Teams will continue to provide a daytime service to those made homeless as a result of domestic abuse. These teams will also be integral to helping RESPONSE coordinate permanent accommodation for victims of domestic abuse following the initial referral. In the 2004/2005 276 women who presented as homeless cited domestic abuse as the reason for their homelessness. The rate of domestic abuse among homeless women is believed to be much higher but abuse is not always reported as the immediate cause of them becoming homeless. The RESPONSE service was devised by the Gender-based Violence Team of the Glasgow Homelessness Partnership, which is a partnership between Glasgow City Council and NHS Greater Glasgow. Operational management of the pilot will lie with the multi-agency organisation Glasgow Community Safety Partnership, which includes Glasgow City Council, NHS Greater Glasgow, Strathclyde Police, Glasgow Housing Association and other agencies. The Violence Against Women Partnership brings together Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Community Safety Partnership, NHS Greater Glasgow, voluntary sector and the Police. The Hamish Allan Centre is open 24-hours every day of the year as an emergency reception centre for those who are homeless. A full range of social care and health services can be accessed through the Hamish Allan Centre. From Ione Campsie Phone 0141 287 0910 Fax 0141 287 0925

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