3.5 Case Study

Gemma* participated in the Free from Fear tenant and service user consultation. Gemma has four children and lives in a social housing property in Gwent. Despite being subjected to a high level of physical and other abuse for more than 10 years she had never reported it. During the 10 years, Gemma lived with her abuser in social housing under the same social landlord.

Over the years, Gemma experienced physical abuse that sometimes resulted in injury and damage to the property. On one occasion, Gemma was thrown through a glass door. Each time, Gemma didn’t call the police or report the damage to her social landlord as she was afraid her children might be taken from her. Gemma arranged and paid for all repairs to the property herself.

A few years ago after recovering from a life threatening condition, Gemma realised that the abuse was never going to stop and she ended the relationship. After several strokes, she has had to learn to walk and talk again, and continues to have some impaired cognitive functioning. Regardless of this the abuse had continued.

Her abuser moved out of the property and Gemma remained there with her four children, with whom the abuser continued to have contact.

Recently Gemma’s abuser has moved into a property just one street away from her. Gemma finds this very difficult as this proximity acts as a constant reminder of the degradation and violence she experienced and the control her abuser had on her.

Her abuser is now able to monitor hers and the children’s movements. She lives in constant fear that he could turn up at the property unannounced, become aggressive and try to enter her home or demand to see the children. 

Gemma wonders what her social landlord’s response would be if she requested a property move. She has never reported the abuse to the police, so there are no domestic crimes recorded. Gemma currently participates in a support group run by a specialist domestic abuse agency.

Consider the following:

·       What would your organisation’s response be to a request to move from Gemma?

·       What criteria would be used to determine Gemma’s eligibility for a property move or transfer?


*Name changed to protect identity