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Network Homes joins up with Hestia to provide safe house

21 May 2020

Network Homes has joined up with a charity to provide a new safe house in Brent for female victims of modern slavery. The safe house will be run by charity Hestia, the largest provider of modern slavery support in the capital.

The opening of the safe house comes amid a critical need for accommodation for victims of modern slavery during the coronavirus crisis. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the government has paused the move on process for victims of modern slavery living in safe house accommodation until July. Existing safe houses are nearing full capacity and new accommodation is urgently required.

In 2019, the number of potential victims of modern slavery referred into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), increased by 52 per cent. Between 23 March and 14 May this year Hestia has seen a 41 per cent increase in the number of referrals into their Modern Slavery Response service against the same period last year. The increasing recognition of modern slavery underlines a growing need for accommodation for victims of this crime.

Hestia’s new safe house contains six units of accommodation for women, provided by Network Homes, which will be a safe space for them to begin to recover. Network will also be providing 24-hour security and a dedicated office for support staff, along with an extensive cleaning service. Women who access the accommodation will also be supported by Hestia with their emotional and practical needs.

Last year, Hestia supported 1,337 adults and 508 dependent children through its Modern Slavery Response service, including through safe house accommodation and pan-London outreach support.

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We’re really pleased to be working with Hestia in order to provide safe and secure accommodation at what is a very challenging time. This is a really good example of partnership working to protect very vulnerable members of our society and delivering on our social purpose.

Helen Evans, Chief Executive of Network Homes

Patrick Ryan, CEO at Hestia, said: “A home and place of safety is always important. The current crisis makes this even more true. I am delighted that Hestia with our partners is able, in the middle of the pandemic, to provide new homes for victims of modern slavery so they can recover from the trauma and brutality of their experience.”

Kathy Betteridge, Director of Anti-Trafficking and Modern Slavery for The Salvation Army, said: “The Salvation Army is working closely with our partners and the Home Office and we have quickly adapted our existing operations so that victims of modern slavery continue to have the best care possible, to keep them safe and help them continue their recovery despite the challenges we face in the light of coronavirus.

"We are already making available new safe houses on a regular basis. We have plans to ensure we continue to have the capacity to accommodate new victims needing support. This will contribute to the additional accommodation now required following the government’s decision to allow cients to remain in our network of safe houses during the pandemic even when they might have been planning to move on under normal circumstances.”