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  • Date: 17/11/2023

Groupwide collaboration provides unique domestic abuse support for residents

Two years ago, to further expand resident support, our housing association, Staffs Housing, joined the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA).

The DAHA is a national initiative, working to improve the housing sector’s response to domestic abuse. This includes encouraging organisations to adopt an established set of standards and work towards the DAHA accreditation.

For us, this meant building on our existing domestic abuse support. Quite uniquely, our Group has a domestic abuse support service, Glow, in-house as part of our organisation. This means that staff from our housing brands, Staffs Housing and Concrete, are able to learn directly from the specialist, furthering their knowledge and understanding.

Staffs Housing’s DAHA journey began with Glow delivering training to housing officers and customer-facing staff. This gave them the knowledge, skills and confidence to be able to handle domestic abuse disclosures effectively and efficiently.

Honeycomb Group’s Head of Homelessness and Complex Needs, Laura Dalton, initiated and continues to champion Staffs Housing’s journey towards DAHA accreditation.

Laura explained: “We feel really lucky to be able to draw on the specialist knowledge and extensive experience of domestic abuse champion Glow.

“Our dedicated team of housing officers have received training from Glow and they now better understand the challenges and barriers faced by people experiencing abuse.

Head of Homelessness and Complex Needs, Laura Dalton

“Now when they receive disclosures, they are able to use what they have learned to support customers both emotionally and practically.

"This includes advocating for them with things like non-molestation orders. These are put in place to prevent a partner or ex-partner from using or threatening violence against victims. This prevents intimidation, harassment and keeps people safe. 

"Alongside that, we've also helped residents asses their housing options when they've not felt safe. This includes looking at rehoming and security options."

As well as this reactive response, Laura also worked with all customer-facing teams to introduce preventative measures too.

She added: "We want to make sure that all staff who interact with our residents have the right information and guidance to support someone if they come forward. 

"The training helps staff to understand the impact and recognise the effects of abuse. It encourages them to look at the bigger picture, especially around anti-social behaviour and arrears issues, which are often tell-tale signs of abuse. 

"Alongside this, the training teaches them how certain groups of people are more vulnerable. 

"We've also updated our maintenance policy to include a section about domestic abuse. It encourages contractors to look out for signs and make sure victims don't have to pay for the repair of damage caused by perpetrators. 

"By following guidance issued by DAHA and working really closely with Glow, we're hoping to address, end and overcome domestic abuse for our residents.”

Social media has also proved a powerful tool to support our residents. In the last six months, over 5,800 of them have been reached online, with 100 engagements on domestic abuse support posts. Glow will continue to build on this with a 16 days of action campaign, celebrating the Recovery Hub service and sharing support resources with customers.

Laura added: “We feel so lucky to have Glow as part of our group of socially minded brands - their expertise, knowledge and experience is second to none.

“Working so closely with such a leader in the sector is a unique opportunity that has an incredible impact on our residents. It’s something we definitely don’t take for granted.”

Honeycomb Group is proud to be a part of DAHA and a champion for domestic abuse victims/survivors. Through Glow, Staffs Housing and Concrete partnership work, the Group is continuing to support residents experiencing domestic abuse and educating teams to spot the signs.