Domestic violence victim may lose home after panic room is classed as spare bedroom.

(81 Posts)
Darkesteyes Sat 04-May-13 23:39:09

How bloody low are this Gov. going to sink? What on earth do they expect this woman to do FFS.

Darkesteyes Sat 04-May-13 23:40:35

Sorry I should have put domestic violence survivor. I was quoting straight from the article.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 05-May-13 09:14:22

She's got a good case to ask her local authority for special dispensation and I'm surprised her MP hasn't motivated for that. Rather like when someone with a disability has a room in their home specially converted there are exemptions available.. Presumably this panic room was installed by her housing authority or social services?

AuntieStella Sun 05-May-13 09:23:13

Yes, it's curious that the MP is mouthing off rather than doing his job. OK It's not his Westminster responsibility, but he could help by signposting his constituent to the correct part of the Council for exemptions.

It would be interesting to know why the Labour-controlled council decided this wasn't an appropriate case for exemption.

Xenia Sun 05-May-13 10:59:41

Why should she and her son have a three bed house! Why can't one of them sleep in the third bed room they have called a panic room?

hackmum Sun 05-May-13 11:03:37

"Why can't one of them sleep in the third bed room they have called a panic room?"

Because that would leave another room spare. It's fairly simple arithmetic: two people, three rooms.

Actually I have read and re-read your post because I think there must be something I'm missing here. I know you are actually quite clever and therefore you can't really think that one person moving from one bedroom to another will solve the problem. But I don't understand what you are trying to say, so you'll have to explain it a bit more clearly.

TwllBach Sun 05-May-13 11:09:28

I read Xenias post as asking why they can't have a two bed house with one of them sleeping in the panic room.

busygirl Sun 05-May-13 11:12:14

Couldn't they have given her a 2 bed making her bedroom a panic room?why a 3 bed for 2 people?anyway now they are living there and the panic room can't be replaced is unreasonable to make her move.

busygirl Sun 05-May-13 11:13:14

Or of coure the violent ex could be put in prison as he's obviously a danger to others!why should she need a panic room,she didn't do nothing wrong

burberryqueen Sun 05-May-13 11:13:50

or she could pay for the third room? I am sure it wouldnt be that much? this bedroom tax is kind of bothering me a bit, last week i was talking to someone and they said..'oh yes Mrs single so- and so has just been given a two bedroom place by the council, housing benefit will pay for it, but it is terrible she will have to pay seven pounds herslef to pay the bedroom tax' - and i was like ok, seven pounds for a two bedroom house with a secure tenancy and no need to go to work? boohoo.

Cloverer Sun 05-May-13 11:16:05

There aren't exemptions available Cogito, disabled people living in specially converted houses aren't exempt either. There is a limited discretionary fund that people may apply for, with no guarantees they will get it.

TheUnicornsGoHawaiian Sun 05-May-13 11:17:16

Am I missing something in this article? Has the tenant been refused special dispensation? If she had been refused then that would have been a news story.

Cloverer Sun 05-May-13 11:17:17

Xenia - do you really think the council will move her to a 2 bedroom house and install another panic room?
Most people affected by the bedroom tax can't move - there is nowhere to go.

TheUnicornsGoHawaiian Sun 05-May-13 11:17:50

cloverer x post sorry

busygirl Sun 05-May-13 11:19:52

Agree with burberry it isn't that expensive

AuntieStella Sun 05-May-13 11:22:43

As her council, Notyingham, has already reclassified about 1000 2 bed properties as 1 bedroom according to The Guardian it seems that she might be able to explore both exemption and assisted payment routes.

The MP might be better using his time advising her on how to do this effectively rather than speaking to the press when it is unclear whether all options have been exhausted. And working on a solution might help others in this situation - something which then would merit publicity.

Viviennemary Sun 05-May-13 11:23:36

Three bedroomed house for two people equals spare room. She will just have to find the money like the rest of us have to find the money when bills increase.

Cloverer Sun 05-May-13 11:34:16

Individual, piecemeal solutions like discretionary payments for those who understand the system does not tackle the problem.

What about all the vulnerable people affected who are struggling enough to cope with day to day life, who are now expected to come up with council tax and bedroom tax? Not everyone is in a position to find out what discretionary payments are available, identify the right person to contact about it, fill in long forms, and then repeat again in a few months.

Many people with spare rooms didn't choose to live in those properties, they were assigned them by the council/HA. Most of those people can't now move somewhere smaller. All of this is out of their control.

burberryqueen Sun 05-May-13 11:40:33

Many people with spare rooms didn't choose to live in those properties, they were assigned them by the council/HA. Most of those people can't now move somewhere smaller. All of this is out of their control
but they are already living way below market rent and could easily go out to work to pay the rent, IME an awful lot of people with this kind of 'property' then think the government also owes them a living and claim benefits to cover what is actually a miniscule rent. I am not referring to disabled people btw.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sun 05-May-13 11:42:37

7 pounds a week out of about 55 is a large proportion of income.

Cloverer Sun 05-May-13 11:44:22

burberry - most people affected by the bedroom tax are disabled, or caring for a disabled child.

burberryqueen Sun 05-May-13 11:44:34

if someone is on 55 a week that means they don't have young children and are not disabled. ergo they could get a job, non?

Viviennemary Sun 05-May-13 11:45:26

I think a lot of people are hardening their hearts against this constant stream of sob stories. They should think themselves incredibly lucky they have secure tenancies and are asked to make a tiny tiny contribution.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sun 05-May-13 11:46:09

There is a shortage of jobs..ergo it's not that easy, non?

burberryqueen Sun 05-May-13 11:46:21

exactly viviennemary

FanjoForTheMammaries Sun 05-May-13 11:47:16

I think a lot of people are suckered in by the media and made to feel bitter and jealous of a mythical on benefits.

Cloverer Sun 05-May-13 11:48:09

Yes, I'm sure many of the people I work with who have to live in specially adapted houses with lifts, wet rooms, storage for medical equipment and wheelchairs etc are really, really grateful.

Viviennemary Sun 05-May-13 11:50:30

And I wasn't meaning people with disabled children. Just to clarify.

burberryqueen Sun 05-May-13 11:52:00

look fanjo if someone is disabled or caring for a disabled child or a tiny baby then fine, rely on benefits. Those will however be higher than the £55 you quote, which is I believe the rate for a single person or someone with a partner who helps support them. All you have to do is find SIXTEEN hours a week work and you are entitled to a whole raft of support such as WFTC, CTC,HB etc. And those 16 hours can even be self employed in a micro business. I have friends that do it with caring, cleaning, reflexology and gardening, among other things. All people do is complain when they have above all, a secure tenancy that they have to make a tiny contribution towards.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sun 05-May-13 11:52:03

Just those mythical feckless people with giant tellies.

Cloverer Sun 05-May-13 11:52:58

So just the people who have a spare room but aren't disabled, living in an adapted house or caring for disabled children should be affected by this?

FanjoForTheMammaries Sun 05-May-13 11:53:12

So everyone on benefits should invent some trumped up job just so they get even more benefits?

burberryqueen Sun 05-May-13 11:55:02

actually cloverer perhaps people who 'have to' live in specially adapted houses probably are grateful that their homes have been adapted at no cost to themselves.

Viviennemary Sun 05-May-13 11:55:21

I'm sure a lot of cleaners and gardeners wouldn't be happy about their jobs being called trumped up.

burberryqueen Sun 05-May-13 11:56:25

these jobs are not 'trumped up' they are about at least making some effort to support yourself instead of crying that the government does not give enough. no wonder people from other countries laugh at us.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sun 05-May-13 11:57:24

You know what I mean..the jobs are created by them so that they can work 16 hours a week and get more benefits.

Which is fair enough but how can you promote that and bash other benefit claimants.


Maybe the people trumping up the 16 hours should really work full time and claim no benefits..if you are of this benefit bashing persuasion.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sun 05-May-13 11:58:14

Yes..make some effort..but stick to 16 to claim tax credits?

At least be consistent if you are going to come over all right wing and benefit bashing

Cloverer Sun 05-May-13 11:59:26

burberry - except now it is at cost to themselves, isn't it? Or is the tax payer going to move 100,000 people into smaller properties and specially adapt the new houses too?

660,000 people are being affected by the bedroom tax, of them 420,000 are disabled or caring for disabled children.

There aren't enough smaller properties for people to move to - this policy is not going to be freeing up bigger houses.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sun 05-May-13 11:59:39

I dont grudge anyone any support.

But its a bit rich to bash the unemployed while singing the praises of your mates who work the system by doing a minimum amount of work.'s been fun but real life beckons.

CoalDustWoman Sun 05-May-13 11:59:50

Why isn't the ex locked up?

The solution is arse backwards.

burberryqueen Sun 05-May-13 12:01:02

just becasue i have suggested taht people could pay a little living cost themselves does not make me a 'benefit basher' and i have never mentioned giant screen TVs or a luxury lifestyle - i know well that is twollocks - I just think this whole mentality needs to change a bit. I wish to God I could manage without government handouts, sadly the last Labour government made damn sure that nobody could. It is all about control really.

burberryqueen Sun 05-May-13 12:03:03

and show me where i have 'bashed the unemployed'? funny how that whole vocab of 'bashing' and 'luxury lifestyles' and 'giant tvs' swings into action - it is like a knee jerk reaction to anyone going against the grain.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sun 05-May-13 12:05:12

No..its a reaction to your comment that they should "just get a job"

burberryqueen Sun 05-May-13 12:09:43

in many cases, yes, there is no excuse. I do not include disabled or disabled carers in this, as I stated before.

Xenia Sun 05-May-13 12:10:06

Why can't she sleep in the panic room and the council move am other and baby into the spare room which is freed up? This is social housing. It does not have to be luxurious.

Viviennemary Sun 05-May-13 12:12:04

I just don't believe for a moment that she lives on £55 a week. I wonder what her real income is.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sun 05-May-13 12:14:32

I dont object to your comments because I have a disabled child..I am lucky enough to be working, btw.

FanjoForTheMammaries Sun 05-May-13 12:15:50

Why not just chuck em in a workhouse while you're at it Xenia.

CoalDustWoman Sun 05-May-13 12:17:41

Why isn't the ex locked up and then she won't need the panic room? WTF are the police and cps playing at?

Viviennemary Sun 05-May-13 12:26:36

That would just be too sensible a solution CoaldustWoman.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 05-May-13 12:33:16

Unfortunatly she does not have a good case for any exemption if she is working age.

The only current exemptions are only available to families with a child benefit reciving child who has a disability that means any child who is expected to share with them would get no sleep or be subject to extream disrupted sleep.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 05-May-13 12:47:21

In order to have a panic room installed in a LA house you need to more than really need it.

They are not intended to be used as a normal usable room so using it as a bedroom would be a big no no certain items are supposed to be stored in them and due to the security and required storage and a box room mostly being used they are often not even big enough to fit in a bed.she is not a criminal so why should she have to sleep behind bars in a room actually designed to totally isolate and protect someone under attack whilst help comes?

Do some of you imagine this is a nice large room with nothing other than a sturdy door?

burberryqueen Sun 05-May-13 12:49:44

surely in this case there must be some kind of exemption?

TwllBach Sun 05-May-13 12:52:45

Actually, I realise this isn't the point of the thread, but tbh, I think I dd think of panic rooms as being these large, specially designed, reinforced steel rooms in the middle of large houses that had security cameras and the like. Like that film, err, Panic Room with Jodie Foster (?)

It never occurred to me that they would be something recommended and provided by LAs to keep ordinary people safe in their own houses. That's scary.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 05-May-13 12:53:39

No there is not, the only exemptions are...

Pensioners (automatic)

Convicted sex offenders(automatic)

If a resident child has a significant disability that would cause huge sleep issues for the child expected to share ( not automatic you have to apply)

Cloverer Sun 05-May-13 12:54:35

Why would there be an exemption burberry? If they start making exemptions for everyone who genuinely needs a spare room they might as well get rid of the bedroom tax.

The money set aside for discretionary payments won't even cover all the people living in specially adapted houses for disabilities.

burberryqueen Sun 05-May-13 13:00:15

anyway i agree essentially despite my comments this a really silly plan

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 05-May-13 13:03:14

The ones our area uses are mostly in box rooms ( in this area all LA 3 bed houses the 3rd room is a box room) by its self the box room is only just big enough to fit a single bed with either no or tiny bits of space at either end of the bed.

The walls get lined with special stuff that makes it harder for fire to breach the room the windows have bars and sometimes bullet proof glass the door is mostly wood lined with thick metal ( think they type of thing that could with stand an axe or chain saw) inside are storage areas for minimal supplies that would be needed if trapped for more than a few hours.

A condition of having one is that they are not used for normal household things because they have to be kept available for the intended use.

They cost the LA loads.

NiceTabard Sun 05-May-13 13:40:30

That's a very informative (and terrifying) post sockreturningpixie.

Surely the people who are such a threat that these rooms are necessary should be locked up, rather than this situation with people living in terror. And they're going to be living in a lot more terror once they don't have their panic rooms any more.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 05-May-13 14:46:38

If they 'cost the LA loads'.... it's daft to go to all the expense of converting this special bolt-hole and stipulating that it can't be used as a regular room... and then penalise the occupant.

My guess is that the entire article is just a pressure tactic by the MP and that by Tuesday the LHA/council will have magically found some money in the discretionary fund.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 05-May-13 14:55:17

If only life was that simple.

In the uk we cannot just lock someone up,in fact for DV offences we rarely do.
Often by the time the offence actually gets to court things like trapping a woman and her child in there home for hours cutting the phone lines so she cant call for help smashing up her mobile phone threatening to use her wedding dress to burn the house down ( dumping in the room covered in BBQ lighter gel) then when she climbs out of a window chasing her into the street and catching her then beating her until neighbours come out chase you off and take her and the child into their own house to wait for the police.

Gets referred to as criminal damage,assault by beating and results in attending a 8 week probation course a court fine of £150 compensation of £130 ( what bt charge to fix the cut line) and that's it.

And that's if found guilty.

I have clients whose ex's for what ever reason got found not guilty or charges lowered so much its shocking even if you know they did it you can't lock them up.

In the 6 months after the riot hearings loads of violent domestic violence offenders got lower sentences than the woman who sold the stolen shorts. Most were not even custodial.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 05-May-13 14:57:08


Its not the LA penalising them its the law the LA has to follow it no matter how much they disagree with it.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 05-May-13 14:59:18

And the reason why they state it cannot be used as a normal room is to make sure it can be used as intended remember these are tiny rooms made smaller by the needed security

Cloverer Sun 05-May-13 15:22:15

Cogito - what about the 100,000 people in specially adapted houses that cost the LA loads? Is money going to be found in the discretionary fund for all of them too?

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 05-May-13 16:11:24

Local Housing Authorities have to follow the law but there is a fund set aside for those in special circumstances and it is 'discretionary'.... i.e. not determined by broad-brush laws. There can't be that many people that have a specially fitted panic room in their homes. As for the 100,000 in specially adapted houses I don't know what percentage of those are social housing or what percentage can afford the extra charge.

TwllBach Sun 05-May-13 16:32:32

That's terrifying, Sock.

Can I ask then, how does someone qualify for a panic room then? If the law doesn't take these people seriously, how come the LAs do?

NiceTabard Sun 05-May-13 18:32:06

As Twll I would have thought the LA would have to have some pretty compelling evidence to pay the cost of installing a panic room.

Anyway that was kind of my point - it should be the case that people who present this level of risk should be away from the public - but it isn't - and that is a failing of our criminal justice system/authorities.

Cloverer Sun 05-May-13 18:37:32

That's 100,000 people affected by the bedroom tax who live in specially adapted homes Cogito. The discretionary fund will not even cover all of those people, let alone the other 300,000 disabled people affected. That's without taking into account foster carers and then smaller groups like those with panic rooms who also have to find for that money.

CoalDustWoman Sun 05-May-13 18:43:31

How on earth have we got to a situation where there are people terrorising others to the extent that panic rooms are required and they are not deemed a danger to the public?

Is it like when social services can say that children can be removed if you let them back, but the justice system doesn't keep them away because there isn't enough evidence to prosecute ?

How fucked up can you get?

Mannequinkate Sun 05-May-13 18:58:08

xenia I usually agree with you but on this you are way off.

A single mother and child who are obviously incredibly vulnerable due to what must be what must be an incredibly serious threat of violence for the LA to take it so seriously they install a panic room. But let's just stick a complete stranger into their living space. Would they be obliged to. Check if this person had a connection with the violent exp? Should we CRB this stranger to determine if they also are a risk?

There simply are not enough low occupancy houses for all those that would better suit them. Until this government does something about that it is simply unreasonable to charge people for a spare room they don't need unless they are offered and turn down something more appropriate.

Xenia Sun 05-May-13 19:04:51

She might have a sister or mother in social housing who could move into the bed room. I don't know the size of the panic room. I was imagining it woudl fit a single bed or mattress and have a door which locks perhaps made of steel with bars on the windows and that one could easily sleep in it.

busygirl Sun 05-May-13 19:12:43

Can't see how being a victim of Dv stops you from finding a job to pay the bedroom tax

burberryqueen Sun 05-May-13 19:13:14

bit far fetched Xenia....

EduCated Sun 05-May-13 19:22:19

She might have, she more than likely might not have. Then what?

EduCated Sun 05-May-13 19:23:39

Also, I may be being dim, but does it say that she's unemployed?

NiceTabard Sun 05-May-13 20:00:28

I am not sure that putting additional people in direct harms way is the correct solution to this problem. The woman and her child are obviously at huge risk (I am sure councils do not install this type of room with associated expense without very good reason) so why on earth are people suggesting that more people be put at risk - whether they are other members of her family or lodgers?

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 05-May-13 21:02:17


We don't know that she does not have a job 9 out of 10 HB claiments are in work.

Viviennemary Sun 05-May-13 21:05:52

They can't give everyone in the neighbourhood reinforced rooms to protect them from this dangerous man. If he is so dangerous he shouldn't be at large.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 05-May-13 21:21:14

The types of things that the LA rely on in order to install a panic room.

Several breaches of a none mol combined with photographic evidence documenting extensive assaults and not your low level common assaults broken bones or disfigurement weapon used that type of well as back up from the police DV unit confirming ongoing risk as well as SS evidence. You would also usually have to have no history of taking the offender back.have already had use of a panic alarm that had several valid activations. The ex would normally be expected to have a previous partner who also had DV issues with them or previously served prison time for DV.

You would also normally be expected to waive a mutual exchange in the future and agree not to move unless with significant reason.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 05-May-13 21:23:43


People who commit domestic violence are rarely a danger to anybody other than their children or partner or ex partner.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 05-May-13 21:28:47


The DHF is completely discretionary its also time limited and is done on a first come first served basis.

In most areas its first priority are people with disabilities sadly there is not enough in the fund to cater towards all of those. Its a huge fuck up waiting to happen.

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