The Home Office is funding a new online tool that will make it easier for housing providers to assess their ability to identify and respond to domestic violence.
On 20 January, Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism Sarah Newton joined housing providers and domestic violence experts at the Home Office to announce the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance’s (DAHA) new self-assessment toolkit.
The digital resource, developed thanks to £30,000 of Home Office funding, will enable housing associations to assess whether they are doing enough to protect residents and potentially save lives.
With the appropriate resources and training, housing associations and their front-line staff can play a vital role in spotting the signs of domestic abuse and responding effectively - whether it’s staff carrying out repeated repairs or receiving noise complaints from residents.
Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism, Sarah Newton, said:
“Domestic abuse devastates the lives of victims and families and this Government is working to put a stop to it.
“By its very nature this kind of abuse happens in the shadows or behind closed doors, with many victims suffering in silence. Housing providers are in a unique position to help identify this hidden crime. I welcome DAHA’s efforts to help these institutions and I am pleased that the Government has been able to support its vital work.
“Bringing this issue out into the open is everyone’s responsibility and we must all do everything we can to ensure women and girls can live their lives free of violence and abuse.”
Gudrun Burnet, Co-founder of DAHA, said:
“We are thrilled that the Home Office is supporting DAHA in our quest to improve the housing sectors response to domestic abuse.
“The funding of the online toolkit will support DAHA to disseminate this best practice across the country, helping many more families who are suffering domestic abuse.
“This funding will make such a difference to people’s lives and we are delighted that the Home Office has recognised the importance of the housing sectors role and commitment to tackling domestic abuse.”
DAHA is a partnership between housing agencies Peabody and Gentoo, and UK charity Standing Together Against Domestic Violence. Its mission is to improve the housing sector’s response to domestic abuse, through an accreditation process based on best practice in areas such as training, monitoring and enforcement.
The new self-assessment toolkit will allow housing providers from all over the country to sign up and assess their existing practice online, saving time and resources. After completing the assessment, they will then be in a position to apply for full DAHA accreditation.
One domestic abuse survivor, who asked to remain anonymous, praised her housing provider for helping her escape her abusive partner.
She said: “It gave me my freedom and a safe place for me and my daughter – a new beginning.”