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More families with children are living in bed and breakfast accommodation in England than for almost 10 years. There are 2,090 families living in this form of emergency housing, an increase of 8% on 2012, government figures show.

Homelesness legislation stipulates that bed and breakfasts should be avoided for families, but their use has been rising since 2009. The legislation also states that families should be in B&Bs for no longer than six weeks, but 760 of the 2,090 families had been living there longer at the end of June – a 10% increase on last year, according to research published by the housing charity Shelter.

More than 43,000 homeless households with children were living in other forms of emergency temporary accommodation – usually privately rented short-term flats, which are expensive – an increase of 9% on last year. Homeless families in this kind of emergency accommodation fell between 2005 and 2010, after a government commitment to halve the number by 2010, but they have been rising again since June 2011.

Research by Shelter, based on interviews with 25 families who were, or had recently been, living in B&Bs, found that most felt unsafe. Almost half said their children had witnessed disturbing incidents, including threats of violence, sexual offences and drug use and dealing.

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