Victims of domestic violence are being forced to live in "traumatising" accommodation that may not even have a working kitchen or toilet, Sky News has found.
Our investigation has documented the state of social accommodation given to tens of thousands of survivors across the UK.
Testimonies have been gathered from women and children who have been housed in properties that have no windows, no furniture, insect infestations, broken kitchens and faulty toilets.
And we've collected evidence showing that some local authorities are breaking the law and not meeting the needs of some of the country's most vulnerable.
Lawyer Izzy Mulholland, from the Public Service Law Centre, told Sky News: "I'm frustrated and angry almost daily because I'm having to defend people who shouldn't need defending.
"And the most frustrating thing - and it seems ridiculous - is that we win. And that means that a local authority accepts that they're acting unlawfully. And we don't just win some of the times, we win almost all of the time.
"And that is so frustrating because it means that if a lawyer gets involved, they will deliver the service that they always should deliver. My job shouldn't be necessary."
Only one in three abuse victims is accepted into refuges because most are full or have closed due to government cuts.
If they can't get into a sanctuary, the victims are placed into so-called temporary accommodation by their local authority.
And there are now more women needing help than ever before, according to the UK's largest abuse charity, Refuge. Last year saw a 22% rise in people being supported by the National Domestic Abuse Helpline. All mainstream political parties agree something needs to be done.
We were invited to meet a mother who has been housed in B&B accommodation in London. The law says that vulnerable people should not stay in this type of property for more than six weeks.
But the family we spoke to had lived there for more than two years. "Ayesha" and her three children live their lives in a small, windowless room with no table and chairs, a broken cooker, broken shower and an ant infestation.
She told us: "When I first arrived, I thought I would receive some support. I was told I would only be here for a while before we got a new home, but we're still here. They're not supporting me or my children. We can't do anything in here.
"We just lay on (the) bed and sleep. That's it. That's all we can do. I've asked the council several times, but they say I'm not high risk."
She added: "Sometimes I feel like I'm living on the streets because I don't have a house. It's like I'm homeless. I feel like I'm in jail. I don't even know when it's sunny or raining outside.
"I never thought that life would be like this. That my children would suffer like this. I will bear all the sufferings in the world, but I cannot bear to see my children suffer."
Sky News is not identifying the local authority responsible for this family in order to protect the family's identity, but after being presented with our evidence the council says it will arrange an urgent inspection of the property and will help them find "suitable accommodation".
The government has pledged £125m for emergency accommodation for domestic abuse victims this year, but charities who help survivors say that's not nearly enough.
Labour MP Jess Phillips has campaigned on this issue for years and says women and children are being housed in "dangerous and unsavoury accommodation that is not fit for human habitation".
She told Sky News: "Women expect to come forward and be provided with reasonable services, and it's a big, huge thing to break free of such exploitation.
"And what they find is exactly what their perpetrator promised them. They find a system that doesn't believe them, that treats them like animals, that places them in dangerous situations, and a huge amount of them will describe it as going from one hell to another."
"People often say to me and I hear this again and again: 'I can get over the things that happened to me, the trauma that happened to me. I can't get over is how traumatising the process was for me and my family.'"
All mainstream political parties agree that the situation for domestic abuse victims needs to improve.
We asked the government for an interview with a minister about the findings of our investigation. They said no one was available but gave this statement by Eddie Hughes, the minister for rough sleeping and housing: "It is absolutely vital that victims of domestic abuse and their children across the country can access practical and emotional support to help them rebuild their lives in a safe environment.
"Since April 2021 we have provided £250m to councils across England to make sure safe accommodation spaces, such as refuges, can provide victims with vital support services including counselling and therapy, children support and advocacy support to access healthcare, social workers and benefits."