Community Local News

Creating safer homes and communities

Sovereign has ramped up funding for its domestic abuse support services, investing £40k over the past year, as part of its drive to create safer homes and communities for its residents.

And on Monday 17 January 2022 the organisation, which has 60,000 homes across the south of England, launched a survey to gain feedback from those who’ve used its domestic abuse support services in recent years.

Services offered by the housing association for those experiencing domestic abuse include managed moves, and ‘target hardening’, working with other agencies to keep people safe in the place where they are living. Confidential advice for men and women and access to support that helps people build the confidence they need to move away from abusive relationships under their own steam also all form part of the housing association’s approach.

The housing association also recently offered testimony in a coercive control case, which resulted in the perpetrator being imprisoned for 27 months.

It’s thought to be one of the first times that a housing association has been involved in giving evidence in a case of coercive control. Although under current legal frameworks coercive control does not sit under Grounds 7A ‘housing tenancy enforcement’ – which lay out the conditions for anti-social behaviour – though reframing this is currently being considered by Government.

The housing association has seen approaches for support increase by 25% between 2020 and 2021 and feels that this could just be the tip of the iceberg.

Sarah Andrews, Head of Housing Advice and Resolution and Domestic Abuse Lead, said: “It might seem strange to be satisfied at seeing higher reports of domestic abuse, but we feel that it shows what we’re doing is working. We want our communities and customers to feel safe, and part of that is feeling comfortable with being able to use the services and support that we offer, in partnership with organisations like Womankind and Safer Partnerships.

We welcome views on how we can do more to play our part to end the cycles of abuse that take place in homes across England, and that’s why we’re conducting this survey.”

The survey project campaign, which starts Monday 17 January until 10 February, is being run in conjunction with charity specialists Against Violence and Abuse, with face to face, over the phone or online opportunities for respondents to feed back. Those wishing to take part should email: samar.hersh-toubia@avaproject.org.uk

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