Supporting survivors of domestic abuse

News – 15 June 2021

As an organisation we are committed to providing support for people experiencing domestic abuse. We will always listen to you, believe you and do what we can to help.

In April this year, the Domestic Abuse Act came into force. It will help millions of survivors of abuse by ensuring that perpetrators receive the full force of the law and, for the first time in history, there will be a wide ranging legal definition of domestic abuse to include physical, emotional, coercive control and economic abuse.

It also means that local authorities in England will have to provide support to domestic abuse survivors, and their children, in refuges or other safe accommodation and eligible homeless survivors of domestic abuse will automatically have a priority need for homelessness assistance.

What we’re doing

  • Our Domestic Abuse & Safeguarding team has welcomed the changes brought by the Act, but will continue to work with partner agencies to address an issue that didn’t make it through – simplifying how a survivor can remove a domestic abuse perpetrator from a secured or assured joint tenancy.
  • Working with the charity Hestia, we were the first housing association to launch an online Safe Space – you may have seen us on BBC Look East or heard us talking about it on BBC Three Counties Radio. Through an untraceable link on our website, customers and the wider public can click the Safe Space logo to access information on helplines and specialist support services. Online Safe Spaces increase the opportunities for those suffering from domestic abuse to safely access support while carrying out daily online tasks.
  • Currently housing is the primary barrier for those attempting to leave abusive situations. We want to improve how we respond to domestic abuse, so we have signed up to the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA). DAHA was launched in 2014 and provides a framework of eight areas for housing providers to address, to ensure they deliver safe and effective responses to domestic abuse. We have a project team of colleagues across the organisation who will be working towards achieving the DAHA accreditation over the next 12 months.
  • More generally, our team provides domestic abuse and safeguarding support to our customers, regardless of their tenure, gender or sexuality. We also have three refuges across Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire, and another scheduled for completion soon.

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing abuse, you can speak with any member of Grand Union staff for impartial and non-judgemental support or take a look at our guide to help those suffering from domestic abuse, which can be found here.