Domestic Abuse including VAWG Policy

PurposeTo ensure we deal with Domestic Abuse and VAWG effectively.
Applies toAll employees and contractors
Date first implementedAugust 2022
AuthorHousing Services Manager
Review FrequencyEvery three Years
Service AreaHousing Services

Document Status: This is a controlled document. Any printed copies of this document are not controlled. As a controlled document, this document should not be saved onto local drives but always accessed from the Policy Library

Consequential Amendments
(made prior to full policy revision)

Amendment DateNature of AmendmentRevised by
July 2023Amended to align with internal procedures.Housing Services Manager

Version History

Revision DateVersion No.Revised byApproved by
August 20221.0Housing Services ManagerSenior Leadership Team

Current Policy Revision

Date revisedAugust 2022
Revised byHousing Services Manager
Executive approval dateAugust 2022
Next revision dueAugust 2025

1. Policy Statement

1.1 Domestic abuse is a serious crime that often takes place in the home. It impacts on the safety of individuals, households, and communities.

1.2 We use the statutory definition of Domestic Abuse which says the behaviour of a person towards another person is Domestic Abuse if they are each aged 16 or over and are personally connected to each other and the behaviour is abusive.

Behaviour is abusive if it consists of any of the following:

  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Violent of threatening behaviour
  • Controlling or coercive behaviour
  • Economic abuse
  • Psychological, emotional or other abuse.

1.3 We use the United Nations definition of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), which is ‘Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.’

1.4 Any child who sees or hears or experiences the effects of Domestic Abuse and is related to the person being abused or the perpetrator, is also to be regarded as a victim of Domestic Abuse in their own right

1.5 It is acknowledged that women and girls are disproportionately affected by all forms of domestic abuse, and some forms of abuse, such as genital mutilation (FGM) are gender specific.

1.6 We will deal with all Domestic Abuse and VAWG reports as a high priority, with a real focus on reducing harmful behaviour and protecting the reporter and anyone else affected as quickly as possible.

1.7 The aims of the policy are to improve the safety of our residents affected by Domestic Abuse and VAWG by encouraging earlier reporting, responding rapidly and ensuring it is accessible on our website.

2. Policy Principles

2.1 This policy relates to the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.

2.2 We will actively work with other agencies to ensure the safety of survivors and meet their needs. This includes making referrals to and attending the Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) which is a regular local meeting to discuss how to help people at high risk of murder or serious harm. It includes a domestic abuse specialist (Independent Domestic Violence Advisor – IDVA) and is attended by police, children’s social services, health and other relevant agencies.

2.3 In cases where team members are experiencing Domestic Abuse and VAWG we will follow Mount Greens Team Welfare Policies and refer them to support agencies. In all cases we will refer to our Safeguarding Policies.

2.4 Where appropriate we will seek disclosure on a resident/potential resident through Clare’s Law: a domestic abuse violence disclosure scheme with 2 functions:

  • Right to ask – enabling someone to ask the police about a partner’s previous history of domestic violence or violent acts.
  • Right to know – allowing the police to proactively disclose information in prescribed circumstances.

3. Implementation

3.1 All Mount Green employees will be made aware of this policy.

3.2 Changes to this policy and any associated procedures will be communicated to all Mount Green employees.

3.3 All Mount Green employees will be required to read this policy, and to confirm that they have read and understood it.

4. Other Policies

4.1 This policy should be used in conjunction with the following Acts of Law:

  • Domestic Abuse Act 2021
  • Protection from Harassment Act 1997
  • The Family Law 1996
  • ASB, Crime & Policing Act 2014
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • The Data Protection Act 2018
  • The Housing Act 1996
  • The Equality Act 2010

This policy should be read in conjunction with the following policies:

  • Safeguarding Adults Policy
  • Safeguarding Children Policy
  • Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) Policy
  • Vulnerable Residents Policy

5. Responsibility

5.1 We will ensure that the whole organisation receives mandatory specialist training on Domestic Abuse at the appropriate level.

5.2 The training provided will include how to spot signs of abuse and how to report concerns.

5.3 The AD of Housing Services will ensure there is a Domestic Abuse/VAWG procedure in place.

5.4 The AD of Property Services will ensure contractors are aware of Domestic Abuse/VAWG and know how to report their concerns.

5.5 All employees are responsible for adhering to this policy.

5.6 All contractors and Mount Green employees must report any patterns they identify in the reporting of repairs that could be indicators of Domestic Abuse/VAWG.

5.7 All employees are responsible for feeding back any improvements that could be made to this policy and its associated procedures or problems they have found while trying to implement it.

6. Policy Detail

We take a Victim-Centred Approach

6.1 We use the term ‘victim’ to refer to someone who is experiencing or has experienced Domestic Abuse. If you feel you are experiencing Domestic Abuse, we will deal with it as such.

6.2 We will deal with reports in a sympathetic, sensitive, and non-judgemental manner and recognize that not every victim will want to end their relationship with a perpetrator.

6.3 We do not require you to take legal action or contact the police before we provide assistance. Any action we take is with your consent unless there is a risk of serious harm to the victim of others. We also have an obligation to report safeguarding concerns, and this can be done without the residents consent.

6.4 We will provide you with the opportunity to opt for a team member of a specific gender.

6.5 We will ensure you know you can meet a team member in confidence at our offices or at an agreed choice of safe venue. We will also agree on the safe method of contact you wish to use.

6.6 We will make a referral to our Welfare Benefit Officer or other relevant external agencies for any required support relating to financial issues.

6.7 We will provide you with improved home security in conjunction with partner agencies, where required.

6.8 We do not have any emergency accommodation, but we will assist you to liaise with a local authority or refuge to seek emergency accommodation. If permanent re-housing is required, we will also assist you to liaise with a local authority and will consider a management move for residents with Assured or Fixed Term Tenancies.

6.9 We will sign post you to access legal advice where appropriate.

6.10 We will help you to access advice and support dependent on your needs and work with our partners to ensure coordinated services our prioritize your safety and the safety of any children present.

6.11 We will agree an action plan with you, monitor the situation and review at a frequency agreed with you.

6.12 We will report incidents to the police on your behalf or support you in doing so (with your permission) if you require this assistance.

6.13 We don’t usually charge victims for the damage to property caused by a perpetrator.

6.14 The victim centred approach means we will not interview alleged perpetrators to get their account of events as we would for other types of ASB.

Reporting Domestic Abuse/VAWG and our Response Times

6.15 We will ensure residents are able to report Domestic Abuse or VAWG to us through a variety of methods and will investigate all reports we receive. We will respond within 2 working days.

Consent/Information Sharing/Confidentiality

6.16 We will complete a risk assessment using the Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Honour Based Violence (DASH) Risk Identification Checklist and safety plan (to provide support for the person and any children experiencing Domestic Abuse or VAWG) unless the victim confirms which agency has already completed it. If another agency has completed the assessment, we will ask the victim’s consent for us to contact them to request the details.

6.17 We will share information between agencies where the DASH risk assessment score meets the local authority threshold for MARAC referrals or in our professional judgement a referral is required. For cases which meet the threshold for MARAC, or if we have safeguarding concerns, we have a legal duty to share information with the relevant agencies.

6.18 We will seek the victim’s permission for us to participate in multi-agency meetings to ensure support is received from all relevant agencies where the DASH Risk Identification Checklist does not meet the LA threshold for a MARAC referral.

6.19 In the case of joint tenancies, the alleged perpetrator has the right to access the tenancy file. When a Subject Access Request (SAR) is received, before any information is disclosed to an alleged perpetrator any necessary redactions will be made.

Our Response to Perpetrators

6.20 We will take firm action (where sufficient evidence is available) against anyone responsible for Domestic Abuse or VAWG. 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 partner agencies to keep them informed of any action taken.

6.21 If a perpetrator acknowledges their behaviour, wants to change and consents to a referral being made, we will signpost them to agencies who can offer them support.

7. Monitoring

7.1 This policy will be reviewed in line with changes in working practices, best practice or regulatory requirements.

8. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

8.1 For Mount Green, diversity is about respecting people’s individual differences and ensuring that all people that come into contact with us have access to the same high standards of behaviour and service.

8.2 We are committed to ensuring that no resident or employee is treated less favourably because of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex or sexual orientation.

8.3 We will help victims to access available services for Black, Asian and Minority Ethic (BAME) people and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA).

8.4 We will provide translation services where necessary and not rely on family members/friends to translate.