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Domestic Abuse, Homelessness, and Navigating the Homeless Reduction Act: Lessons from Birmingham

Lectures Talks and Workshops
Thursday 3rd December 2020 (12:00-13:30)

Helen Harris:

places of safety

Housing and Communities Research Group - Seminar Series 8 No 2

This seminar will be based on an extensive research project that was carried out over the course of 2019 and early 2020. The project focused on the first years’ operation of the Domestic Abuse Home Options Hub piloted as a partnership between Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid and Birmingham City Council. This pilot project was the first of its kind in England and provides a single access ‘Hub’ for women and children at risk of homelessness and experiencing domestic abuse, incorporating the ‘Prevention’ and ‘Relief’ duties of the Homelessness Reduction Act alongside flexible, holistic and bespoke models of support and guidance.

The presentations will outline the key features and rational underpinning the Home Options Hub model, the experiences of specialist practitioners, and the experiences and ‘pathways’ of women who accessed the Hub. The session will draw upon key themes around housing, homelessness and support pathways that emerged from the research project and provide detail on recommendations for improvement and reform. Whilst the fieldwork for this project was completed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be insight from Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid into how the service has adapted and responded to this ongoing challenge.


12pm-12:05pm Welcome and introductions - Chair (Halima Sacranie)
12:05pm – 12:25pm Part 1: Background to the research context and the Home Options Hub
model (Thea Raisbeck)
12:25pm – 12:35pm Short Q&A on the Part 1 (Thea Raisbeck and Maureen Connolly)
12:35pm-1pm Key themes and findings from the research (Thea Raisbeck)
1pm-1:15pm The view from the frontline: Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid (Maureen Connolly)
1:15-1:30 Second Q&A (Thea Raisbeck and Maureen Connolly)

Please email Helen Harris to register for this event.


Maureen ConnollyMaureen Connolly is a proud feminist, committed to women for women services as the safest, most appropriate, and effective provision for women and children affected by abuse. She has been involved in the specialist, Violence against Women sector for more than 25 years and is currently Chief Executive of Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid (BSWA), Birmingham and Solihull’s leading specialist domestic violence agency.


Thea RaisbeckThea Raisbeck has over 13 years’ experience in housing, homelessness, and domestic abuse sectors, where she has held a range of frontline, research, policy, and governance roles. Thea combines extensive ‘on the ground’ experience with research expertise in order to produce meaningful work that has relevance and applicability at practice, policy, and strategic levels. Thea is the Head of Research and Best Practice at Spring Housing Association and an Honorary Research Fellow within the Housing and Communities Research Group at the University of Birmingham.


Find out about the project: Places of Safety


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