New North Lanarkshire housing policy tackles domestic abuse
North Lanarkshire Council’s new Housing Domestic Abuse Policy, developed with the Violence Against Women (VAW) Partnership, and shaped by women with lived experience of domestic abuse, puts victims and survivors at the heart of our service.
The council is introducing a specific housing policy focussing on domestic abuse which aims to strengthen and enhance the service, while responding to and supporting the needs of victims and survivors.
The housing service is proactive in tackling domestic abuse. In addition to the partnership work undertaken as part of the VAW partnership structure, the council has developed housing specific domestic abuse procedures, guidance and resources for staff, and ensure access and awareness of these resources is readily available. This assists in the delivery of a sensitive, priority and trauma-informed service to anyone experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse.
Key areas of the new policy include:
- Preventing and reducing adverse childhood experiences and providing safe and nurturing accommodation and support that can help children and families thrive
- Providing information on the range of housing options and support available
- Outlining the prevention and early housing advice approach and the use of the council’s Prevention and Sustainability (PAS) tool in supporting women and children affected by domestic abuse
- Setting out the council’s commitment to continuing to work in partnership with women with lived experience, specialist providers and the VAW partnership
- Action against perpetrators – future new powers for social landlords set out in the new Domestic Abuse (Protection) (Scotland) Bill
- An emphasis on the prevention of homelessness where possible through early intervention, setting out the provision of priority housing award through the Domestic Abuse
- Protocol to provide an alternative route to accessing accommodation, and
- Reaffirming the council’s commitment not only to train all housing staff on domestic abuse, but to ensure ongoing training, recognising the evolving learning required to tackle domestic abuse effectively.
Housing convener, Councillor Heather Brannan-McVey, said: “Our aim is to deliver the highest quality housing services to best meet the needs of women and children experiencing, or at risk of, domestic abuse.
“Housing has set out a clear commitment to tackling domestic abuse, through signing the ‘Make a Stand’ pledge, developed by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) in partnership with Women’s Aid and the Domestic Abuse Alliance. This commitment is reinforced in our Local Housing Strategy and Rapid Re-Housing Transition Plan, which sets out how we address homelessness in North Lanarkshire, recognising domestic abuse as a leading cause of homelessness amongst women.
“We’ve achieved significant progress and our new Domestic Abuse Housing Policy, which applies to all aspects of our housing service, will strengthen this approach, improving housing responsiveness, supporting victims and survivors and preventing and tackling domestic abuse effectively. We will do everything in our power to stop domestic abuse and make North Lanarkshire a safe place to live.”
North Lanarkshire Council aims to improve awareness across the housing service, among wider partners, victims and survivors, of its approach, services, and options. It’s hoped that other housing providers will adopt a similar policy as the council builds on its progress to protect those most vulnerable in North Lanarkshire communities.
A review of the policy will take place on an annual basis, coordinated by the Housing Domestic Abuse Working Group in partnership with women with lived experience of domestic abuse and the VAW strategic and operational groups.