Written by Konrad Ostrowski
Victims of domestic violence are being turned away from a service for African and Caribbean women which is facing eviction from its premises.
Sistah Space, the only domestic abuse service specifically for women of African and Caribbean heritage in London, is being forced by Hackney Council to return to a previous building which they consider not fit for purpose.
The service is currently based in temporary accommodation having left the building they are being ordered to return to in October 2019 due to security issues, dangerous electronic defects and building damage.
Speaking to The Independent, Sistah Space founder Ngozi Fulani said: “It is not only unsafe, it’s unfit for purpose. It is one room. The wiring is faulty. We have over three years of emails saying this place is dangerous.
“The building they are trying to make us go back to is by an area known as murder mile in Clapton. They have made refurbishments, but they are inadequate. They have now built us an exit which leads onto a poorly lit area not used by the public which is used by drug users.
"There was a shooting nearby two weeks ago. Shootings and stabbings are something that constantly happens. Hackney Council are discriminating against us in terms of race and gender. The fact that Hackney Council gave us a civic award but is now treating us like this is hypocritical.”
Ms Fulani added that the service’s footfall had risen by 300% since moving into the temporary building, and moving back would limit the number of women they can support.
Having originally been given until the middle of June to leave their temporary premises, Hackney Council extended this until the end of July due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The council claims that Sistah Space had agreed to return to the building after refurbishments took place, but the service deny this.