Gentoo helps to combat domestic abuse through new project

Gentoo is helping to combat domestic abuse thanks to our all-encompassing software solution, Streetwise.

We have signed a three-year contract with the Chelmer Housing Partnership (on behalf of the Essex Housing Officers Group) to provide an effective case management system that will log instances of domestic abuse and provide early intervention services to victims and families across the county of Essex. The new project is aptly known locally as ‘Tutis,’ which is Latin for ‘Protected.’

Streetwise is a case management system that helps protect communities and improve lives by using existing data to provide a comprehensive, holistic view of the customer’s circumstances, so the most appropriate person-centered support and interventions can be put in place.

Designed in-house by Gentoo, this hosted solution has two modules, an anti-social behaviour (ASB) module that supports those on the front-line to manage ASB and pin-point where support is most needed, and a domestic abuse module to support staff when dealing with cases of domestic abuse.  Both modules provide a controlled way to record incidents, actions, interventions and the measures taken to support victims and deal with perpetrators.

More than 20 providers in the Essex area are using the domestic abuse module of the Streetwise system to easily share information across multiple providers in a bid to enable safer communities.

The partnership is already proving to be a success, and during the first six months of the project, more than 1,000 serious cases of domestic abuse have been logged, with examples of protecting victims before they come to harm already experienced.

For example, when a customer presented herself as homeless to the reception of one housing provider with her partner, the staff member noticed she looked shaken and had physical bruises. When staff checked the Essex wide Streetwise system they found intelligence from another provider advising there was an ongoing support case open.

Seeing this information allowed the member of staff to check the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) notes, who confirmed that the case had been heard at MARAC in minutes. As a result of this quick action the housing process was stopped and further support offered to the victim.

Michelle Meldrum, Executive Director (Gentoo), said: “We are delighted to be working alongside members of the Essex Housing Officers Group to help make our communities safer. This will not only support those working on the front-line to make faster and more informed decisions, it will play a part in protecting victims and their families. We are proud to work with another organisation that puts people and communities at the heart of everything they do.”

Terri Cochrane, Assistant Director of Housing Management, said: “We are a year into the project and although it has not been without its teething problems getting everyone on board, the case management system itself has provided us with an opportunity to improve the safety of our residents and others within the County. Sharing information can be a tricky issue but by having a common goal and clear outcomes which we hope to achieve our partners have developed different ways of working to assist victims of domestic abuse. This is a three-year project which is being monitored closely by Essex County Council’s Domestic Abuse Board. I am very optimistic and grateful to our partners for buying into the project. Gentoo’s Streetwise Domestic Violence module has helped get an innovative project off the ground.”

Members of the Essex Housing Officers Group currently using the Streetwise system include; Basildon Council, Braintree Council, Changing Pathways, Chelmsford Council, CHP, Colchester Borough Homes, Essex Gov, Estuary, Family Mosaic, Greenfields, Harlow Council, L&Q, Moat, One Support, Safer Places, Sanctuary Housing, South Essex Homes, Tendring Council, Thurrock Council, and Uttlesford Council.

So far, Streetwise is being used by 45 housing providers and local authorities across the UK including Scotland based Wheatley Group, London based Poplar HARCA and North Tyneside Council.

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