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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

'Housing organisations should make domestic abuse a central consideration'

12/09/2018


Housing organisations should embrace Make a Stand, says WM Housing equalities manager Ravinder Kaur.

You only need to look at the eye-watering numbers associated with domestic abuse to know that all housing organisations need to take this issue seriously. Statistically it is extremely likely that we are all housing and employing many people who will either be experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse.

As an organisation with 30,000 homes and 1,000 staff we recognise just how important this issue is for us and the people in our organisation and our communities.

We signed the pledge earlier this year and we are now looking to make sure we put the commitments in place.

The great thing about this campaign is its simplicity - the four commitments could be put into action by any housing organisation.

For us this has been an opportunity to take a wider look at our approach to domestic abuse and start to approach dealing with this hugely complex issue.

Domestic abuse is not only about physical or verbal abuse, but often much more difficult to detect controlling and coercive behaviours. It is also intricately tied together with issues like forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

We already provide support for residents experiencing domestic abuse, we are in the process of adopting a policy for staff and we have appointed a strategic lead on the issue at a senior level to help to drive change.

But we also recognise that we will not achieve perfection overnight – building an approach to domestic abuse into our organisation which takes into account the many facets of this issue will take time.

The pledge works because it is not prescriptive and gives organisations the time and freedom to put the commitments in place in a way which works for them.

For us this is about seeing those commitments as a foundation on which we can embed an approach to domestic abuse.

But the campaign has helped the sector to take the first crucial step - for us all to realise that we could and should be doing more.

Like many others we recognise that we are at the start of a journey to make sure that considering domestic abuse sits as a central consideration for the work that we do.

Make a Stand has galvanised the sector and placed the issue where it belongs – at the centre of our work.

We should all approach this with a positive attitude and an open mind, because together we could support thousands of people in our communities and our organisations and save many lives.

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