Young Londoner’s experiences are shaped by the world in which they live and the places where they spend time their time.
We understand the impacts the wider context of their lives can have on their safety and the harm they may face outside of the family. Whether this be the area where they live, where they spend their leisure time, their education setting, the businesses they frequent, or the ways that they travel around the city and beyond.
Drawing on Contextual Safeguarding approaches,we’re working with partners and directly in the community, to ensure that the places and spaces where young Londoners spend their time are safe and positive.
We have a dedicated Prevention Advocate who draws on contextual safeguarding approaches to help address risks to young people in the places and spaces they occupy. They provide guidance and advice on how places and spaces can protect young Londoners, based on the needs identified and the unique make up of that place or space.
The school, local park, high street, leisure centre or shopping centre can all be places where young Londoners can experience harm.
That’s why we’re working with partners including academic experts to lead and develop an innovative community of practitioners with the intention of protecting young Londoners from harm through sharing knowledge and best practice .
The ‘Community of Practice’ group is made up of members from voluntary and community sectors, and is aimed at supporting smaller grassroots and community based services supporting young Londoners and their families or communities affected by extra-familial harm.
It involves a group of professionals and community based organisations from a variety of backgrounds, coming together to understand and support the integration of creative and responsive contextual safeguarding and trauma-aware approaches into everyday service delivery.
We work with partners across all of London to help people to find safe and secure homes, as quickly as possible.
Whether this be through our one on one Housing Advocacy work, or our managed housing reciprocal, we aim to ensure that young Londoners and their families affected by violence and exploitation feel safe where they live.
The Pan London Housing Reciprocal
People affected by violence who live in social housing face a difficult choice – they can either remain at risk or end up becoming homeless. Safer London’s Pan London Housing Reciprocal offers a third choice.
Through effective partnerships we help to relocate social housing tenants to flee domestic abuse and other forms of violence, whilst maintaining their tenancy rights by accessing a social tenancy in a safer borough.
By connecting local authorities and housing providers, individuals and families impacted by violence are able to move to a London borough that is safe for them, and to a property that they can afford.
The Pan London Housing Reciprocal is for people affected by:
- Domestic violence and abuse
- Sexual violence and exploitation (including prostitution and trafficking)
- So called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage
- Hate crime
- Serious youth violence
Applicants must be at risk in their borough, have a social tenancy and wish to move to a different London borough.
Whilst we hope that moves can be facilitated quickly, this isn’t always the case and the Pan London Housing Reciprocal shouldn’t be considered as emergency accommodation.
We welcome referrals from any agency.
For safety reasons we can’t accept applications directly from tenants. If you’re affected by violence and have a social tenancy, please get in touch with your housing officer or support worker who can make an application on your behalf.
Before you make a referral on behalf of an applicant please first check if their landlord is registered with us.
Please use our online form to make a referral for your social housing tenant/s.
The below resources can be used to guide you make when making an application to the Pan London Housing Reciprocal.
How long does it take?
Once we processed your referral and received approval from the applicant’s landlord, we can circulate the property request within a week. We are however unable to give a timescale on a property offer being made as it depends on properties becoming available in the boroughs requested. If there is an immediate risk please support your client to access temporary accommodation while waiting for a property offer through the Pan London Housing Reciprocal.
My client needs refuge/ emergency accommodation
The Pan London Housing Reciprocal is not an emergency accommodation scheme as moves can take time. If your client is at immediate risk in their home, please support them to access emergency accommodation before making a referral to the Pan London Housing Reciprocal. It is essential that they do not relinquish their social tenancy while accessing emergency accommodation.
Can I make a referral for a family in temporary accommodation?
If the family had a social tenancy before being placed in temporary accommodation (TA), yes. It would be their original landlord who would need to approve their referral rather than the local authority who placed them in TA.
Is it a housing swap system?
The Pan London Housing Reciprocal works as a ‘central pot’ rather than a direct swap between two applicants. If a family is successfully rehoused, their landlord will owe a property to the scheme and the landlord who rehoused them will be owed a property. As coordinator, Safer London keeps track of properties owed and ensures the system is fair for all partners. We advise against direct swaps due to the risks associated such as perpetrators harassing the new tenants or the previous address being disclosed.
Will the scheme pay for my client’s relocation or offer any additional support?
No. The referring agency needs to ensure that appropriate risk assessments are completed and sufficient support is provided including support around resettlement.
Please check our application guidance for additional information and considerations for those fleeing domestic abuse, other forms of violence against women and those at risk of harm from violence in the community.
What is my role as nominating officer?
As Nominating Officer, you will be the main point of contact for the applicant, Safer London and any landlord making a property offer. Please stay in touch with the applicant and inform Safer London of any update including if the applicant no longer needs to move.
What is a Named Lead?
Each local authority or housing association signed up to the scheme has at least one designated Named Lead who will lead on approval reciprocal requests for their tenants. Please contact Safer London to find out a specific Named Lead contact.
Will my client be able to choose the area and property type?
The purpose of the Pan London Housing Reciprocal is to enable quick moves to areas where your client is not at risk, therefore increasing their safety. We match property offers with requests based on the number of bedrooms requested and the boroughs requested. We recommend applicants to include as many boroughs as possible where they would be safe and willing to move to. Property offers will reflect the existing social housing stock in London and as such are likely to be flats on estates.
What if the perpetrator is still living in the property?
Local authorities/registered providers are responsible for action relating to the perpetrator who may still be residing in the property. Where necessary and safe to do so, this can include eviction proceedings. When approving a reciprocal move for one of their tenants, the landlord agrees to owe a property to the Pan London Housing Reciprocal, whether or not they have evicted or moved the perpetrator from the property.
What is Safer London’s role?
Safer London’s role is to provide central coordination for reciprocal moves. Safer London will support moves between boroughs through keeping the central contact list up-to-date, receiving and disseminating requests and then tracking when offers are made. Safer London will ensure the centralised system is fair, with a cap which means that housing partners cannot make more than three successful referrals without successfully reciprocating a property to another borough or provider.
I want to make a complaint about the service, how do I do this?
All our complaints are processed via our complaints team. You can get in touch with them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’d like to be referred to the Pan London Housing Reciprocal, what should I do?
Any professional you work with can make a referral for you. We recommend discussing this with a professional you feel comfortable with such as a support worker, a social worker or a housing officer. If you are not working with any support agency, we recommend getting in contact with your landlord.
Once we receive your referral, we will seek approval from your landlord. Please note that some landlords have an internal process for approving referrals (e.g. an emergency panel).
What is a Nominating Officer?
Your Nominating Officer is usually the professional who completed the property request form with you. Your Nominating Officer will be the main point of contact between you, Safer London, and any landlord offering a property. Nominating officers can work in housing, social services or any other support agency. There can be more than one nominating officer.
Why can’t I be my own Nominating Officer?
Your property request form does not include your name to protect your identity and safety. Landlords who receive your property request therefore need to have the name and contact details of your nominating officer to contact them if they have a suitable property for you.
What happens once my request has been approved by my landlord?
Safer London will send your property request form to all the housing partners who have properties in the boroughs you requested. If a landlord has a property available, they will get in touch with your Nominating Officer and Safer London. Your Nominating Officer will then contact you to inform you of this offer and arrange a viewing.
How can I make changes to my application or get an update?
If you want to discuss your application or make any changes (for example including additional boroughs in your request) you can contact your nominating officer, who will the let the team at Safer London know what you would like changed.
Can I choose where to move?
You can chose which London boroughs to include in your property request. We can only send requests at a borough-wide level rather than specific areas or postcodes. If you are unsafe in one part of a borough, do not include it in your choices.
We advise to include as many boroughs as possible as long as you would be safe and willing to move there. The more boroughs included the greater the chance a property offer will be made.
I want to move out of London
Currently we are unable to circulate requests for areas outside London boroughs. You may be eligible for other schemes that supports moves out of London such as Homefinder or Housing Moves Seaside and Country Homes.
How long will it take?
Housing offers may take time and might not be possible in all cases. The more flexible you are with your request (for example the greater number of boroughs included), the more likely it is a property offer will come through quickly.
If you are not safe to remain in your home while waiting for an offer, you should contact your housing officer for further information and advice on emergency accommodation options.
What happens if I turn a property down?
If you turn down a property the local authority or housing association who offered the property will not generally offer you another one.
We unfortunately cannot guarantee if and when you will receive another property offer from other housing providers, and you will not receive unlimited offers. It is important to think carefully when declining.
What kind of property will I get?
All landlords should offer a property with the same number of bedrooms as your current property. Properties may vary in size and type, for example it may be a flat not a house, it may be smaller than your current property, and rent and secure tenancy type may differ. Property offers will often be on an estate as this is the social housing stock which exists in London.
This is all dependent on what is available in the areas requested. The huge benefit of the scheme is that you are able to keep a social tenancy and move to a safe area.
I have a pet
In some cases councils and housing associations may be able to offer a pet friendly property, however this cannot be guaranteed. Please specify on the property request form whether you would consider to rehome your pet in case pets are not allowed in the property offered.
Pan-London Housing Reciprocal Reports
Improving access to the Pan London Housing Reciprocal
We’re continuously working to ensure that the Pan London Housing Reciprocal is accessible to all Londoners who experience violence. We looked in depth at specific groups who experience barriers to access safe housing, you can read our published findings below.
London VAWG & Housing Operational and Strategic Groups
Safer London and Solace Women’s Aid established and co-chaired the London Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) & Housing Operational and Strategic Groups.The aim was to promote access to safe and settled housing for those who need to move as a result of VAWG, through cross-sector and cross-organisational collaboration.
The groups resulted in the development and publication of three briefings, which outlines the issues and key asks/recommendations.
Pan London Housing Reciprocal Steering Group
This group brings together partners of the Pan London Housing Reciprocal to discuss issues concerning tenants at risk and to help to shape how partnership across the Reciprocal function. If you’re a partner and are interested in joining get in touch today.
Pan London Women’s Outreach Network
The Pan London Women’s Outreach Network is a forum for workers in the homelessness and women’s sectors to discuss issues relating to women’s homelessness. These include rough sleeping, insecure housing, emergency or temporary accommodation, or any housing situation where a woman is not safe.
The Forum provides a space for workers to learn, share experiences, identify gaps in service provision that need to be addressed, and come together to find solutions and influence change. The overarching aim is to ensure that women in homelessness or at risk of homelessness have access to a range of housing options to enable them to access safety, wellbeing and dignity.