Housing’s role in tackling domestic abuse highlighted as new figures show slight rise in incidents

Jim Strang

CIH President Jim Strang has called for all social landlords in Scotland to sign up to the organisation’s campaign to tackle domestic abuse after new figures revealed a slight rise in incidents.

New figures released by the Scottish Government show that Police Scotland recorded 59,541 incidents of domestic abuse in 2017-18, which represents an increase of 1% compared to the previous year. In 2017-18, 44% of incidents resulted in at least one crime or offence being committed.

The Make a Stand campaign has been developed by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) in partnership with Women’s Aid and the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance. Its aim is to encourage housing organisations to make a commitment to support people experiencing domestic abuse.

The four key components of the pledge, encourage signatories to: embed a policy to support tenants affected by domestic abuse ensure local and national support services are widely publicised to tenants and staff; put in place a suitable HR policy to support members of staff experiencing domestic abuse and appoint an in-house champion at a senior level to oversee the project.

Commenting on the figures, Mr Strang praised the sector’s response to the campaign but called for more landlords to sign the pledge.

He said: “This rise in domestic abuse incidents in Scotland, albeit a relatively small one, shows that domestic abuse continues to be one of the most damaging issues facing our society today and we know that it remains one of the leading causes of homelessness amongst women.

“As a sector, we have a responsibility to ask what more we can do to help tackle this growing problem and CIH, in partnership with Women’s Aid and the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA), is leading the way with its Make a Stand campaign which encourages housing organisations to commit to four focused, but easily deliverable commitments to provide support for people experiencing domestic abuse.

“The response to the campaign has been fantastic so far, with 28 social landlords in Scotland covering over 180,000 homes already signed up.

“However, there is still more to do. We would like to see all of Scotland’s social landlords commit to the CIH Make a Stand campaign and to take note of new national guidance being produced by CIH Scotland, Scottish Women’s Aid, Shelter Scotland, and SFHA, amongst others, due to be published in Spring 2019.

“We would also like to call on the Scottish Government to do more to ensure that survivors of domestic abuse are able to stay in their own homes and to provide more financial support to those facing financial hardship as a result of domestic abuse.”

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