The Guardian newspaper said in a report on Sunday that thousands of vulnerable survivors of domestic violence in England were accommodated in unsuitable homes that were filthy and lacked basic utilities.
The newspaper inspected one such house in north London where a 36-year-old woman and her two children had lived since two years ago when they fled violence at home.
The house, allocated to the women by a local council, was infested with mice, had holes as well as problems with damp and mould, the report said, Presstv reported.
“My daughter got an ear infection in the old property, when she was six months, and I think it was because of the mouse droppings, they have nibbled through the cupboards and my children’s books,” said the woman, adding, “It has been a nightmare.”
The woman, who has newly been re-housed to a nearby property lacking electricity, said mice running around in the roof above in the old house caused her son to struggle for sleep.
Another woman said she survived domestic violence only to be accommodated in a house with a toilet that leaked into her bedroom where had no window to let fresh air in.
“It took three months to fix ... We should be treated like humans, not like animals,” said the woman.
Derek Bernardi, a solicitor-advocate at the Camden Law Centre in north London, said the poor decisions at local councils and government’s failure to provide enough social housing had put thousands of vulnerable women and their children at risk of returning to the perpetrators of abuse.
“The problem is driven by a lack of social housing and affordable housing in general,” said Bernardi, adding, “This is a widespread problem, it’s more of an issue in larger cities but is affecting people across the UK. Thousands of women are likely to be affected.”
Many blame government’s austerity policies for the falling social care standards in the UK. They says cuts which have came as a result of Universal Credit, a government program that aggregated many benefits in a single payment, have left many struggling to cope with poverty and destitution.