We have just secured funding from the Baring Foundation to support our project with Solace Womens Aid on housing, domestic violence and strategic litigation.

Having conducted pre-litigation research with Solace Women’s Aid it became apparent that housing was a major issue for the majority of their service users, both in terms of the need for the voluntary sector to access legal expertise and representation, as well as what bears the most potential in positively changing the lives of survivors.

The aim of the project is to:

  • strengthen the capacity of the voluntary sector to support victims and survivors of sexual and domestic abuse by providing free legal representation, second-tier advice, guidance and training (including advocacy tools, e.g. templates);
  • develop strategic legal action to defend and enforce the housing rights of those escaping sexual and domestic abuse; and
  • transform local and central government policy and practice by disseminating the results of legal action and supporting activists, frontline organisations and broader social movements.

Strategic legal action is an important tool, along with communications and campaigning, to defend, enforce and promote the rights of those who escape sexual and domestic abuse. We are seeking both a structural shift in the way applications for housing assistance are treated administratively as well as a cultural and attitudinal shift in how victims and survivors of sexual and domestic abuse are treated when approaching their Local Housing Authority for support.

This project will demonstrate the value of legal action by bridging service delivery to broader campaigns, grounding both in the rule of law, and by embedding successful legal action in policy and practice nationally.