Domestic Abuse Policy

1. Policy statement
1.1 This policy sets out Cornwall Rural Housing Association’s (CRHA) approach to dealing with domestic abuse. The definition of domestic abuse is: any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse. (Home Office 2013.) CRHA recognises the damage to children who witness domestic abuse.

1.2 This policy sets out how CRHA will take steps to assist and support any person suffering from or threatened with violence or abuse.

1.3 This policy applies to all CRHA tenants and non-tenants living with our tenants.

2. Policy
2.1 CRHA will enable residents to report domestic abuse to us in different ways, and we will investigate all reports of domestic abuse that we receive, including those made in confidence, and those made by individuals not directly involved such as neighbours and contractors.

2.2 We will ensure that our Officers receive specialist training on domestic abuse and support.

2.3 We will work with those experiencing domestic abuse irrespective of age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, social background or any other characteristics identified in the Equality Act.

2.4 We will consider taking a multi-agency approach when dealing with individuals experiencing domestic abuse and, where appropriate, act against perpetrators, where we can do so without compromising the safety of the individual experiencing domestic abuse.

2.5 We will provide a sensitive and confidential response to anyone approaching us for assistance in cases of domestic abuse. For those cases that meet the threshold of a Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC), or if we have safeguarding concerns, we have a legal duty to share information with relevant agencies such as Adult, Social Care and Children and Family Services.

2.6 We will ensure that people experiencing domestic abuse know that they can meet staff in confidence at our offices or at an agreed safe venue of their choice. An agreed method of contact will always be established to stay in contact with the person experiencing the abuse in order to ensure their personal safety.

2.7 We will carry out safety planning to provide support for the person experiencing domestic abuse and their children where present. Unless we are informed that another organisation has carried this out, we will carry out a risk assessment using the Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Honour based risk identification checklist (DASH).

2.8 We will share information between relevant agencies where the assessment against the DASH Risk Identification checklist meets the local authority threshold for MARAC referrals. This information will only be shared with those agencies attending the meeting.

2.9 We will work with relevant agencies to provide improved security to a resident’s home, where required (lock changes, alarms, “Sanctuary” schemes etc.)

2.10 We will make a referral to external financial agencies for any required support relating to financial issues.

2.11 We will signpost the individual experiencing domestic abuse to relevant organisations to provide legal advice where appropriate.

2.12 We will advise people experiencing domestic abuse of external agencies who can offer further advice and support dependent upon their needs, and work with these agencies to ensure a co-ordinated approach to prioritise the safety of their children where present.

2.13 We will take appropriate enforcement action (where evidence is available) against any of our tenants and residents responsible for domestic abuse. This will only be done in cases where we can do so without compromising the safety of the individual, and we will work closely with relevant agencies and keep them informed of any action taken.

2.14 We will report incidents to the Police on behalf of individuals or support them in doing so (with their permission) where they feel too intimidated to report incidents themselves.

2.15 We will refer individuals to the local authority’s homelessness service in cases where emergency temporary accommodation is required. This can also involve referral to refuges via the National Domestic Violence Helpline.

2.16 We will endeavour to provide or obtain support for witnesses throughout our investigation and any further action that may arise.

3. Publicity
3.1 CRHA will make information about national and local domestic abuse support services available on our website.

4. Employees
4.1 CRHA will make amendments to its personnel policies to support members of staff who may be experiencing domestic abuse or to enable action to be taken against any staff members who are perpetrators of domestic abuse.

4.2 The Chief Executive will promote and champion CRHA’s commitment to support people experiencing domestic abuse. Other CRHA staff will assist in this activity as required.

5. Monitoring and evaluation
5.1 Cases of domestic abuse will be investigated and logged on the SDM system and monitored on a weekly basis at the Personal Review Meetings.

5.2 This policy will be reviewed every 3 years, unless legislation changes to ensure that it continues to meet its objectives and take account of good practice.