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Empty student rooms provide sanctuary for domestic abuse victims

Date 21.10.2020

Vacant student accommodation at the University was once again used for a good cause, recently housing people who had suffered domestic abuse during the pandemic.

A small number of empty rooms were used between March and August following referrals from Northamptonshire Police. Those living in them were supported by the police and social workers.

In normal circumstances, the police have an emergency arrangement with local hotels to house victims of domestic abuse and other crimes associated with vulnerability.

However, due to strict lock down restrictions and hotels not having the required space, a new arrangement with the University of Northampton was put in place.

Becky Bradshaw, Director of Estates and Campus Services, said: “At the beginning of the pandemic we made a commitment to assist our local community in whichever way we could. When we heard that hotel closures had left Northamptonshire Police with nowhere to offer as sanctuary to vulnerable members of our community, we were of course keen to help by offering our empty accommodation, just as we previously did for individuals who were sleeping rough and key workers in Northampton earlier this year.

“We have been more than pleased to once again open our doors to home vulnerable people in need of a safe place to stay.”

Detective Superintendent Lee McBride from Northamptonshire Police said: “Being able to house these seven vulnerable people at University of Northampton accommodation was extremely useful during the COVID–19 lockdown and I would like to thank the University for allowing us to use their student housing in this way.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people in so many ways and none more so than victims of domestic abuse and other crimes associated with vulnerability who, in a strict lockdown, had no escape.

“The accommodation provided by the University became a sanctuary for seven of these people who were able to live somewhere where they felt safe and looked after.”