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Housing body takes on domestic abuse


CIH, Chartered Institute of Housing, DAHA, Women's Aid, pledge, tackle domestic abuse, Signing up to put in place four commitments could make a real difference.

The Chartered Institute of Housing, (CIH), the professional body for the housing sector, has launched a new campaign to tackle domestic abuse, and its president, Alison Inman, has said all housing organisations must play their part.

Millions of people experience domestic abuse every year – and two women are killed by their partner or ex-partner every week.

Housing organisations house and employ millions of people across the UK and that means they house and employ many thousands of people affected by domestic abuse.

The Chartered Institute of Housing believes that the housing sector must do more on this issue; in the words of Alison Inman, these are “our homes, our people and this is our problem”.

The new campaign, Make a Stand, is a partnership with the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) and Inman’s presidential charity Women’s Aid.

The campaign gives housing organisations the chance to sign up to put in place four commitments which could make a real difference.

Here they are:

1 – Put in place a policy on domestic abuse for your residents

It is, quite frankly, a bit ludicrous that this isn’t a legal requirement.

Housing organisations are required to have policies on all sorts of things, including anti-social behaviour. But the stark reality is, anti-social behaviour isn’t killing two women a week; domestic abuse is.

Legal requirements aside, there is absolutely nothing stopping us from putting a policy in place.

Some housing organisations have led the way on this, so the successful examples are already there and, crucially, so is the best practice in terms of embedding the policy in your organisation by training people and giving them the information they need to spot the signs of abuse and act on them.

2 – Put in place a policy on domestic abuse for your staff

It’s crucial that we protect our staff as well as our residents.

I’ve been really clear on this from the outset and one of the most eye-opening things about choosing domestic abuse as my presidential cause has been the fact that since I did, not a week has gone by without someone revealing to me that they have been affected.

We pride ourselves as being great employers and investing in our staff, but if we don’t have a policy to protect the people who work for us, can we really say we are?

3 – Publish information on local and national domestic abuse services

This is so simple but could be so effective.

Making sure information on services in your communities and relevant national services are accessible to your residents and staff could make a huge difference.

We have to make it as easy as we can for people in abusive relationships to get access to services to help them, not make them search around and lose hope.

This is easy to do, and Women’s Aid even has a directory of local services that anyone can access.

Find those details and get them onto your website, into communal areas of your developments if you can, into staff rooms – wherever you can get them to make it easy for people to get help.

4 – Appoint someone in your organisation at a senior level to lead this

Domestic abuse should be a crucial consideration for every housing organisation and you have to have someone in your organisation who drives it from the top.

This doesn’t have to be onerous; it just means that someone makes sure the issue is always considered.

So please, join in and Make a Stand!

You can find all of the information you need about the pledge here and you can sign up to it here.

This is a way for housing organisations to publicly commit to take action to support victims of domestic abuse.

We shouldn’t see this as just another responsibility – it could ultimately save lives, and what could be more important than that?

Alison Iman is calling for housing orgaisations to sign the pledge today – and commit to put these four actions into place.

For someone out there who is living with abuse, it could be the difference between life and death.

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