New domestic and sexual abuse policy introduced by Fife Council’s housing service

New domestic and sexual abuse policy introduced by Fife Council's housing service

Fife Council’s housing service has introduced a new domestic and sexual abuse policy.

The policy has been developed by Fife Council Housing Services, with input through consultation from Fife Women’s Aid, and the Fife Violence Against Women Partnership. It takes into account the experiences of domestic abuse survivors so that the council can better support tenants experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Training on the policy was launched during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign with 79 housing employees taking part in awareness sessions to both improve their support to victims and assist perpetrators with addressing their behaviours.

By implementing a proactive approach to preventing and eradicating all forms of domestic and sexual abuse, victim-survivors will be able to access an improved range of wrap-around support and housing options with a focus on removing the perpetrator from the home.

Fife Council said it wants to reduce inequalities, create opportunities and improve life chances for women, men, children, young people, families at risk, and other vulnerable people affected by domestic and sexual abuse. An important part of that is to help its communities, workplaces and wider society to embrace equality and mutual respect, rejecting all forms of domestic abuse.

Cllr Judy Hamilton, Fife Council’s spokesperson for housing, said: “It is vital that we get it right for every person accessing housing advice. We know that violent and abusive behaviour is often carried out behind closed doors, and mostly aimed at women and girls. By adopting a gender-based approach for our procedures, it means that we can not only better support women and girls, but also improve the services for men, because the policy will be applied to meet the individual’s need.

“As well as improving our own services, this policy also acknowledges challenging areas in relation to work with perpetrators.

“It is right that we demand more of all social landlords when it comes to domestic abuse so that everyone has access to a safe place to live. I’m pleased that Fife Council’s strong commitment has been reaffirmed during the White Ribbon campaign that raises awareness about gender inequality and violence against women.”

This policy update is part of a wider piece of work to improve the council’s services for women, whether that be in the community or for our employees. The council was recently awarded Equally Safe At Work accreditation by Close the Gap for significant work carried out over the last 18 months to advance gender equity among the council’s workforce.

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