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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.

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?

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