Kensington & ChelseaNews

Homeless man wronged by KC council who failed to recognise domestic abuse

By Adrian Zorzut, Local Democracy Reporter

Kensington and Chelsea council left a man homeless after saying he wasn’t a victim of domestic abuse because the perpetrator wasn’t a blood relative, a watchdog has found.

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said the local authority did not recognise the abuse the homeless man said he suffered because it came from his sibling’s spouse.

The man complained to the watchdog after the council left him sleeping rough after fleeing the home he shared with the pair. Kensington and Chelsea council has since apologised.

Ombudsman Amerdeep Somal said the council wrongly did not offer the man temporary housing because he said he was staying with a friend. She said the council failed to check how long he could stay there and if it was settled accommodation.

It then took the local authority 11 weeks to tell the man it had accepted a duty of care and provide a Personalised Housing Plan (PHP).

Ms Somal said: “The council’s delays in confirming what duty it owed the man, coupled with not recognising the alleged abuse he suffered, can only have caused him uncertainty and distress at a time of crisis.

“During our investigation the council told us it has a significant backlog of cases requiring a Personalised Housing Plan. This is not good enough.

“These are important documents, required by law, which explain what the council will do, and what people themselves can do, to help prevent or relieve their homelessness – delays in providing them creates a real injustice to people at a vulnerable time in their lives.”

She welcomed the council’s steps to improving how it deals with fleeing domestic abuse victims and addressing its backlog. She also asked Kensington and Chelsea council to report on the backlog to a relevant committee every quarter.

The council has since apologised to the man and paid him £300. It said it is ensuring officers are aware of the legal definition of ‘personally connected’ and ‘relatives’.

A Kensington and Chelsea spokesman said: “We take the support of victims of domestic abuse very seriously and apologise fully for falling short of the standards our residents should expect in this case. We accept the Ombudsman’s findings and are implementing the recommendations made.

“We are constantly working to ensure our staff have the skills and expertise to identify and support anyone experiencing domestic abuse.

“We are training more frontline staff to spot the signs of domestic abuse and have set up a Domestic Abuse Champions Network comprising those who have had more intensive training and can advise and support colleagues on casework.”

Picture: Kensington town hall (Picture: Hannah Neary)


Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.

Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing:


If you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can make a donation which will allow us to continue to bring stories to you, both in print and online. Or please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.