Domestic Abuse is Everyone’s Business – We All Have a Role to Play.
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of age, social background, gender, religion, sexuality or ethnicity. The abuse can be physical, emotional, psychological, economic or sexual. It is characterised by a pattern of coercive control which often escalates in frequency and severity over time.
Domestic abuse is just as prevalent in the Private Rented Sector as any other tenure of housing.
You can improve and potentially save lives by increasing your awareness of the signs of domestic abuse.
Private landlords and their agents can be the first to know that domestic abuse is occurring.
This may be because a tenant has told you directly or it might come from a third party such as a neighbour or letting agent.
Indicators of domestic abuse you become aware of may include: unexplained damage to a property; requests for repairs, especially recurring repairs; requests for lock changes or the presence of broken locks; noise complaints or anti-social behaviour reports; and rent arrears. Making the link between rent arrears and domestic abuse as early as possible can help prevent the generation of further arrears and the risk of eviction.
What steps landlords can take to support their tenants?
Landlords are not expected to be specialists or ‘hands on’ however you could have a significant impact and improve outcomes for victims of domestic abuse.
Did you know- something as simple as sharing local and national support numbers could save a life? Provide information on local domestic abuse services in your welcome pack.
Some areas have Sanctuary Schemes open to people living in private rented properties, agreeing to work can help keep someone safe. Your local Council (Housing Department) would arrange and fund this type of security work if they offer it in their area to help keep domestic abuse victims safe at home.
Ensure you are supporting your own staff who may be suffering domestic abuse by implementing a staff policy outlining how you will support them at work.
A range of training options can be found on the SETDAB website including:
Domestic abuse support services.
Information on a wide variety of support services can be found on the SETDAB website.
Compass provides access to support for people experiencing domestic abuse across Southend, Essex and Thurrock. Helpline available from 8 am to 8 pm weekdays and 8 am to 1 pm weekends. Messages will be responded to within 24hrs. Tel: 0330 333 7 444
The Change Hub is available to people in Southend, Essex and Thurrock who want to make positive changes to stop using abusive behaviours in their relationships with others . Tel: 0845 372 7701
The National Domestic Abuse Helpline number is 0808 2000 247 (open 24 hours, 7 days a week).
Other useful sources of information and guidance for private landlords.
Fixflo has collaborated with the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance to create a guide to Domestic Abuse and the Letting Industry – How you can make a difference. The guide covers: What domestic abuse is; What you need to be aware of; What steps you can take to help someone.
The Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance has produced Domestic Abuse Guidance for Private Sector Landlords to provide landlords in the private rented sector with information and advice on how to support tenants experiencing domestic abuse so that they may maintain stable housing, live safely and overcome abuse and its harmful aspects.
Listen to our podcast.
Read the podcast transcript.