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Emergency accommodation for trafficking victim

Expert Advice consultancy case study


Shelter's Expert Advice service helped an advice agency secure emergency accommodation for a trafficking and sexual assault victim. Their client had been refused emergency accommodation from a neighbouring local authority.

We advised that a homelessness application is not required to provide proof of violence, and a reason to believe triggers a local authority's duty to provide emergency accommodation.

The situation

An advice agency contacted our advice line. The client and their disabled son were victims of trafficking to the UK. The client was accommodated by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and had been granted leave to remain in the UK. UKVI had now served notice to end the client's accommodation.

The client had been sexually assaulted in their area so made a homeless application to a neighbouring local authority. The neighbouring authority accepted the application but refused to offer emergency accommodation. It stated the client should apply to their current local authority as there was no evidence of a risk of violence.

The advice agency wanted to know their client's rights.

Our advice

Our expert adviser discussed the case in detail with the agency. They explained the process of making a homeless application and the local authority's responsibilities, focussing on the fact that proof of violence should not be required. A reason to believe is enough to trigger a local authority’s duty to provide emergency accommodation.

Our adviser provided details of relevant caselaw to support the client’s situation and suggested the client finds a local solicitor to challenge the local authority.

The outcome

The local authority agreed to provide emergency accommodation for the client.

Further resources

Shelter Legal

Homelessness due to violence or domestic abuse - includes definitions of domestic abuse and other violence, and how local authorities should make inquiries

Local connection in homelessness applications - when a homeless applicant has a local connection to a local authority's area

Our free Expert Advice Service gives specialist advice on housing, housing debt, and welfare benefit issues. 

In this section, we highlight relevant enquiries about benefits, possession, domestic violence and other issues.