This morning we hosted Phil Azu for the first Midlands event from the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance. It’s an opportunity to bring people together from a range of housing providers and other public services to improve how we recognise and tackle domestic abuse.
Anna Gillespie, our Chief Executive, opened the morning and provided the context for us:
At CHADD we work with 450 victims of domestic abuse each year and we see the impact on their housing, many losing their homes and struggling to get back on their feet after seeking help. The impact on children is also significant. We also know that housing professionals and housing associations have unique opportunities to identify abuse early on, to prevent and intervene in a positive way.
Here Anna Gillespie and Philomena Azu talk about the point of the work. For Anna domestic abuse happens in people’s homes, so housing organisations are perfectly placed to help protect people.
Some points that were discussed by the whole group….
1 Domestic abuse isn’t so well recognised in the older population, CHADD has a specialist worker, (an IDVA) to help older people dealing with domestic abuse
2 Domestic Abuse costs public services in the UK £4 billion a year, with much of that born by the NHS. Some individual housing providers know what domestic abuse costs them and why there are also economic benefits to approaching it effectively
3 How easily could someone find help for domestic abuse on your website? It’s a challenge to housing providers to make it quick, clear and safe for a mobile phone user. Try it with a phone on your own website. Don’t make it easy for yourself: give yourself a time limit, imagine you don’t speak English, know that you have to clear your search. It’s usually tricky to get what you need.
4 Domestic Violence and Anti-social Behaviour are not the same. Lumping them together will affect how willing a victim or survivor is to seek help. It might also influence how a housing provider understands what is happening to someone.
5 There are specific repairs which suggest domestic abuse, for example, door handles missing or doors of the hinges can indicate control and violence.
7 How do you turn policy into best practice? Policy documents can be long and unwieldy – does your organisation have domestic abuse champions who raise concerns about whether it is effective
Below are some thoughts from three people who took part:
Those who joined us include:
Dudley Council Domestic Violence and Anti Social behaviour Team