Housing association extends support to victims of domestic abuse

One of the region’s leading home providers has reconfirmed its support to anyone who has experienced domestic abuse.

County Durham-based believe housing has become one of the first Accredited Members of the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance. The new membership scheme is the only one of its type in the sector and demonstrates the focus believe housing has on supporting customers in even the most difficult of circumstances.

Accredited Membership of DAHA is the highest level of commitment to tackling domestic abuse that a housing association can achieve.

believe housing was officially recognised by DAHA for its work with domestic abuse victims two years ago. The ‘passion and drive of staff’ at believe housing to help victims of domestic abuse together with ‘top notch’ training was praised following a two-day audit.

The inspection included talking to a survivor of domestic abuse who had received support as well as scenario-based work with a range of frontline staff and a review of policies and procedures. The accreditation process is designed to ensure that employees across the organisation have a deep understanding of domestic abuse and has robust processes in place to identify and support anyone who needs help and advice.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of social group, class, age, race, disability or sexuality of the individuals involved. It is a pattern of behaviour used by abusers to establish and maintain power and control over another person.

Evidence suggests that people who experience domestic abuse can turn to as many as five different agencies before they find appropriate help.

Housing associations are ideally placed to spot and respond to domestic abuse as they are in contact with their customers on a daily basis. Trained staff are able to identify the signs of a potentially abusive relationship and offer advice and support to allow the victim to remain in their home, or to move to another property if that is the most appropriate solution for them.

Safer Neighbourhoods Manager at believe housing, Karen Gardner, said: “We want to ensure that any customer who comes to us is given the best support possible. By becoming Accredited Members of this initiative, we will ensure that we always have access to the latest training and best practice to provide that high-quality support.

“During the coronavirus pandemic there has been a rise nationally in concerns about domestic abuse, so becoming accredited members now is doubly important.”