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

New pledge launched to help more housing organisations tackle domestic abuse

09/04/2019


Organisations working in the housing sector are being urged to sign up to a new pledge which aims to help tackle domestic abuse. The Make a Stand supporters’ pledge has been created by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) in partnership with Women’s Aid and the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance.

It’s aimed at organisations that work in or closely with the housing sector but don’t provide homes – such as contractors, suppliers, trade bodies and membership organisations. The pledge, which is made up of three commitments, is a development of CIH’s original Make a Stand pledge, which is designed for social landlords. More than 320 housing providers have signed up to Make a Stand since its launch last year.

The Make a Stand supporters’ pledge is being launched today (Tuesday April 9) at a domestic abuse awareness event for building and maintenance contractors being held by MD Group, Homes in Sedgemoor and the South West Domestic Abuse Steering Group at Bristol City Football Club.

It has already been signed by a range of organisations including MD Group, the National Housing Federation, Pinnacle Group, the Scottish Association of Landlords, ALACHO (the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers) and MCP Property Services.

CIH President Jim Strang said: “Domestic violence was a regular visitor in our house when I was a child, and it was never really a home because of its presence.

“We know that housing professionals are ideally placed to help identify the signs, deal with the outcomes and help tackle some of the root causes of domestic violence. And the organisations that work alongside us also have a huge role to play. That’s why I’m delighted to launch the Make a Stand supporters’ pledge today – and I urge all organisations working with the housing sector to sign up and play their part.”

Adina Claire, acting chief executive at Women’s Aid, said: “Home should be a place of safety but for thousands of women and children experiencing domestic abuse it can be the most dangerous place they can be. Housing professionals play a key role in supporting survivors to take the first step to rebuild their lives free from fear and abuse. We’re pleased that the campaign will now be rolling out a pledge for organisations in the housing sector who don’t directly provide homes to help make tackling domestic abuse a priority throughout the sector. No woman or child should face homelessness because they are experiencing domestic abuse. By signing up to the Make a Stand pledge and putting its commitments into action, your organisation could make a real difference to the lives of survivors of domestic abuse."

DAHA co-founders Gudrun Burnet and Kelly Henderson said: “We are thrilled that the Make a Stand pledge is being extended to include other vital parts of the housing sector. We often work with employers, contractors and maintenance in terms of training and the signs to look out for. Domestic abuse is everyone’s business and we hope this pledge is as successful as the first one.”

Jane Nelson, managing director of MD Group, which provides maintenance services to social landlords and was the first organisation to sign the Make a Stand supporters’ pledge, said: “It’s a no brainer for us to sign up to the supporters’ pledge. Maintenance firms like MD Group are in a great position to make a difference as we visit many homes every day. We should be alert to the signs of domestic abuse - not because we’re nosy but because we’re good citizens. Reporting our concerns might just save someone from a lot of misery – or worse.”

Kate Henderson, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said:

“I’m really proud that the National Housing Federation has been supporting Make a Stand since it was launched last year. It’s such an important campaign because home should always be a safe and secure place, but sadly for so many people this isn’t the case.

“More than 200 housing associations have already pledged their commitment to protecting people in their own homes. I’m delighted that as an employer we are now able so sign up to the next phase of the campaign and publicly demonstrate that we are dedicated to supporting any of our staff who may be affected by domestic abuse.”

Caroline Lester, of MCP Property Services, said: “We’re delighted that CIH has extended the Make a Stand pledge to contractors – we deliver-day to-day responsive repairs and are in people’s homes every day, we are the eyes and ears for our client partners and alert them to areas of concern.”

Jen Barfoot, chief executive of Homes in Sedgemoor and, alongside Jane Nelson, co-chair of the Domestic Abuse South West Steering Group, added: "We are very proud to have been the first housing provider to sign up to the CIH Make a Stand pledge and are really pleased to play a part in seeing the scheme extended to our contractor colleagues and other partners.”

Organisations which sign up to the Make a Stand supporters’ pledge have until September 2020 to put the three commitments in place. They are:

  • Make information about national and local domestic abuse support services available on your website and in other appropriate places so that they are easily accessible for staff, your members, customers or clients.
  • Put in place an HR policy, or amend an existing policy, to support members of staff who may be experiencing domestic abuse.
  • Appoint a champion at a senior level in your organisation to own the activity you are doing to support people experiencing domestic abuse and promote the campaign with your members, customers or clients.

Organisations can sign up to the supporters’ pledge at www.cih.org/makeastandsupporters


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