Domestic violence conflict triggers feminist occupation in east London

Sisters Uncut occupied a council flat in Hackney following a march in the area on Saturday
Sisters Uncut occupied a council flat in Hackney following a march in the area on Saturday
Natalie Bloomer By

Feminist campaigners have occupied a council property in Hackney to protest against the local authority's treatment of domestic violence victims.

Sisters Uncut, who previously staged a high profile protest at the premiere of the Suffragette movie, moved into an empty council flat on Saturday, following a march in the area.

The group are calling on the council to fill empty properties in the borough, stop housing victims of domestic violence in hostels and ensure that no more council homes are lost through regeneration.

They say that they will remain in the flat until these demands are met.


"Hackney Refuge are forced to turn away 60% of women because cuts mean demand outstrips supply," Fatima Sherif, a member of the group, said. "Yet 1,047 council homes sit empty in the borough."

"When so many women need a safe home, why are Hackney council sitting on so many empty houses?"

Back in May, Politics.co.uk reported that a London council had turned down a housing application from a woman who had experienced domestic violence, and told her to return to her abuser. After Sisters Uncut joined forces with housing activists to raise the issue on social media, the council agreed to review the decision and apologised to the woman.

Research by the homeless charity St Mungo's shows that a third of the women they work with say domestic violence contributed to their homelessness.

The occupation in Hackney is one of a series of events planned by Sisters Uncut over the summer, to highlight the need for safe housing for women fleeing violence.

The group says they will use the flat as a community centre and free breakfast club for local children.

The direct action comes on the same weekend that housing campaigners Focus E15, occupied a former police station in Newham to protest against the number of buildings left empty in the area.

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