The Femicide Census proves why women urgently need more safe housing

20 February 2020

Upon the publication of today’s Femicide Census report, our Business Development Executive Marianne Heyl reflects on its findings and shares the work Social Investment Business are exploring through investments in safe housing.

The Femicide Census – published today by campaigner Karen Ingala Smith – is the fourth report of its kind on women and girls aged 14 and over killed by men in the UK. In 2018, the number of female homicide victims is at least 149 – sadly the highest number since the report was established in 2009.

The report also shows that in 68% of cases, the killings took place in or immediately around the woman’s home: either her own, or one shared with the perpetrator –this includes not only private homes, but also sheltered housing, hostels and care facilities. There is a clear link therefore between victims of domestic abuse and the lack of provision of safe, stable and affordable housing in the UK.

With the forthcoming domestic violence bill, it’s urgent that we all do more to keep vulnerable women and their families safe, and ensure that they are not left only with the option of returning to their abusers.

SIB has a strong track record of supporting charities and social enterprises working with the people and communities most in need, through our funds and programmes. In 2013 we became a partner in SASC, investing not only in the company itself but also in SASC’s initial two funds: the Community Investment Fund and the Third Sector Investment Fund. Our investment of £12m helped leverage in additional investment from both Big Society Capital and Santander, resulting in £50m of funds dedicated to supporting charities and social enterprises. Some of those funds have been invested in organisations directly supporting victims of domestic abuse, such as Family Action and Hull Women’s Network. More recently in 2019, we were proud to become a partner in SASC’s £26m Social and Sustainable Housing LP (SASH), which invests in the provision of safe, stable and affordable homes for vulnerable people and their families in the UK. Through the Reach Fund, we also supported Hestia – one of the largest providers of domestic abuse refuges in London and the South East.

In terms of other sector funds and initiatives, the Women In Safe Homes (WISH) Fund, believed to be the world’s first gender-lens property fund, is being created by Resonance, Patron Capital and Big Society Capital as a solution to the lack of affordable, safe and secure homes for women who are experiencing homelessness, are ex-offenders, survivors of domestic abuse or have other complex needs. The Fund has a strong focus on achieving substantial positive social impact by supporting women in challenging circumstances. This will be achieved by providing them with housing and access to the support networks needed to help them rebuild their lives by partnering with women’s sector charities: the first partner to be announced is Preston’ Road Women’s Centre.

At Social Investment Business, we’re interested in working with specialist partners to explore how social investment could enable charities and social enterprises to provide safe housing for vulnerable women in the UK. We believe we can achieve this by giving voice to the organisations and communities directly concerned and responding to their needs, re-establishing equality between investor and investee by changing power relations and funding structures, and ensuring effectiveness of social investment using our data and insight to develop the best products for our market.

Marianne Heyl

Business Development Executive

Marianne joined SIB in June 2019. She holds a Master in Science of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and an MA in Public Administration Candidate Focus in Social Impact at LSE. Prior to her MA, Marianne was Director of Social Department for Corporación Red de Alimentos - the first national food bank in Chile, which works with more than 200 charities across the country every year. 

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The Social Investment Business is the trading name for the Social Investment Business Foundation, Registered Company No. 05777484 (England), Registered Charity No. 1117185 (England & Wales), The Social Investment Business Limited, Registered in England No. 06490609, VAT No. 927456693, Futurebuilders-England Limited, Registered in England No. 05066676 and Forward Enterprise FM Ltd, Registered in England No.11238102. Registered Office: CAN Mezzanine, Borough, 7-14 Great Dover Street, London, SE1 4YR.

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