Council members have approved Torbay’s Safe Accommodation Strategy, presented at last night’s Cabinet meeting.

The Safe Accommodation Strategy has been developed in response to the Council’s new statutory duties to provide support to victims of domestic abuse and their children living in dedicated “safe accommodation”.

Informed by the experiences of victims and survivors of domestic violence and abuse who have used domestic abuse services in Torbay, the strategy follows the safe accommodation journey of victim survivors in three parts - finding a safe place to stay, getting support in safe accommodation, and moving on to a new, permanent home.

It also sets out a wide range of recommendations to make it easier to seek support and to improve on what is available.

The main actions outlined in the strategy will be to support victim survivors and their children to be safe, recover and thrive by:

  • Increasing safe accommodation capacity
  • Increasing safe accommodation accessibility particularly for those under-represented/less visible according to Torbay’s demographic profile
  • Developing new pathways for safe accommodation support according to the urgency of the victim’s situation, with support options tailored to their circumstances
  • Adopting aspects of The Whole Housing Approach to prevent victims needing to access safe accommodation, including those experiencing economic abuse
  • Developing support in Safe Accommodation and to move on including elements of The Whole Housing Approach
  • Developing skills in the workforce including trauma informed approaches
  • Working with the Peninsula DASV Commissioners Group to devise a regional commissioning plan to address specialist needs and priorities identified from all the Peninsula safe accommodation needs assessments, including developing cross border referral pathways.

Cllr Darren Cowell, Deputy Leader of Torbay Council said; “The Safer Accommodation Strategy will enable us to ensure that victims of domestic abuse and their children can access and receive appropriate support and receive appropriate support in safe accommodation.

The actions recommended by the Strategy support our priorities for Torbay where people can thrive, where we can turn the tide on poverty and where our children and older people will have access to good quality jobs, good pay and affordable housing for our residents.”

Cllr Christine Carter, Cabinet Member for Corporate and Community Services said; “We wholly support the strategy and its recommendations and thank those that have come forward with lived experience to help shape and inform this strategy. Their voices have been invaluable in helping us to understand the challenges they have experienced in seeking to find somewhere safe to stay once they have made the decision to leave the abusive situation.”

The Safe Accommodation Strategy will sit beneath and support the new domestic violence strategy for Torbay which is due to be completed in 2022.

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