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Slade Green woman's housing plea to escape violent ex-husband
A DOMESTIC abuse victim from Slade Green says she is being forced to sit in the dark at home in fear of her violent ex-husband.
In June, 27-year-old Charlene Smith’s former partner Anthony Smith was locked up for breaching his restraining order after he hit Mrs Smith so hard her jaw broke.
Following the attack in Gravesend, which also saw the windscreen of her car smashed, Bexley Council and the Met Police decided she should be moved out of her council-owned home and into Bromley as a precaution.
It was also recommended her four children - one of whom is severely disabled and requires 24-hour care - also be removed from their Bexley schools for their safety.
However despite being told she would be housed by Bromley Council, Mrs Smith is still stuck in Bexley and living with family in Claydene Road, Slade Green, while her children are out of school.
Mr Smith was released from prison on September 10 and Mrs Smith claims he is already harassing her and now fears for her family’s safety.
She told News Shopper: "Since the day he was released I’ve had non-stop text messages from him, even though I have got a restraining order for life.
"As soon as it gets to night time I’m sitting in the dark and putting the children to bed early.
"We’re sitting in the dark to look like no one is in.
"I can’t keep sitting in the dark with the phone in my hand ready to ring 999."
Mrs Smith says she has reported Mr Smith’s latest restraining order breach to police and has been told a warrant is out for his arrest - but she is still no closer to moving out of Bexley.
She says she was initially offered temporary accommodation by Bexley Council but the door was too narrow to fit in the equipment needed to support her two-year-old son, who suffers from epilepsy.
Bromley Council told her they had a four-bedroom property available, but she says they later said she must bid for it like everyone else on the waiting list.
Mrs Smith said: "They couldn’t find me any other temporary accommodation.
"Bromley Council offered me a three-bedroom high rise flat but getting my disabled son up and down the stairs all of the time wouldn’t be possible.
"If I’m that much of a homicide risk why am I still in the borough?"
A Bromley Council spokeswoman explained it was inappropriate to comment on individual cases, but said: "If a family needs to be re-housed in Bromley because they’re in immediate danger of domestic violence in a neighbouring borough, we work with them to offer temporary accommodation on an emergency basis.
"If they have particular housing needs we will make arrangements to adapt the temporary accommodation to meet the particular needs of the family."
A Bexley Council spokesman added: "At this time Bexley offered the client sole use of a five bedroom property on an emergency accommodation basis so that she had a place of safety while awaiting a permanent offer from the new Borough.
"She declined this offer and even though we did not have further duty to make an interim offer at this point, we offered her a smaller property in an area where she said she would feel safe.
"The client felt unable to take up either of our offers and unfortunately we had no further emergency accommodation units available at the time.
"The client assured us that she had the option of staying with relatives in the short term.
". If the client's own arrangements have broken down, she should contact us again, and we will discuss the situation and consider options with her."
Nothing left to lose
Although it may seem inappropriate to publish Mrs Smith’s address and details under the circumstances, she says Mr Smith already knows where she is living. Mrs Smith says she has nothing to lose in telling her story and urged News Shopper to do so.