Challenging domestic abuse

News – 25 November 2022 Today is the launch of 16 Days of Action, an international campaign to challenge domestic abuse. It runs from 25 November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to 10 December (Human Rights Day). Our dedicated Domestic Abuse (DA) & Safeguarding team supports customers who are experiencing domestic abuse as well as perpetrators, helping to find suitable specialist support and/or accommodation, where necessary. But our DA team doesn’t just help customers; they’re also on hand for colleagues to seek help and support if they are experiencing domestic abuse, or know someone who is. We were pleased to work with Bedfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership recently so that our DA team is supplemented by trained DA Responders, who will be aware of local and national support services and resources. In 2021, we were the first housing provider in the UK to launch an online Safe Space to help tackle DA. Online Safe Spaces aim to increase the opportunities for those experiencing domestic abuse to safely access support while carrying out daily online tasks. Last year we opened our fourth refuge for women and children fleeing domestic abuse. It’s a sad fact of life that these places are required, but it’s vital we can provide safe spaces for people to stay, free from fear. And although refuges play an important role in helping people to be safe, our support goes further than that – we look at housing, income, health, social networks and the wellbeing of any children involved and who may have witnessed abuse first hand. Life24 is our unique telecare and personalised support service for people of all ages. We’re using Life24 equipment in a different way; keeping our customers safe. When personal alarms are pressed to signal immediate danger, they will alert the call handlers to call the police. Since November 2020, 101 alarms have been installed and there are 50 in use currently. Where necessary, these are provided free of charge and reviewed regularly. All customers who were provided this provision were asked if they felt safer having this and if they would recommend to others – all answered yes. Since December 2021 we have installed 40 camera doorbells to help customers feel safe in their homes. They are also provided free of charge and reviewed regularly, like the alarms. We recognise abuse/risk of abuse can take many different forms and for some of our customers who, for example, experience stalking and harassment, criminal damage, bail and restraining order breaches, this is a fantastic resource to monitor their safety from inside the home. Both of these provisions are also available to support our colleagues in addition to those who undertake lone working in office hours having access to PeopleSafe – a device to track a colleague’s location and keep them safe. We’ve been able to set up the escalation to emergency services, if pressed outside of working hours and when not in the home, providing another level of support to colleagues who may be experiencing domestic abuse. As an organisation, we are working towards accreditation by the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA), which is the UK benchmark for how housing providers should respond to domestic abuse. By becoming DAHA accredited, we are taking a stand to ensure we deliver safe and effective responses to domestic abuse, addressing the needs of survivors and holding abusers to account. If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic abuse, please visit our dedicated webpage: to find out more information. If you are a professional, you can refer customers in via our online form and there is also self-referral should they need our support.