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Islington Council awarded top domestic abuse support accreditation

Islington Council has gained the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) accreditation - the gold standard for housing providers in tackling domestic abuse.

Keeping our residents safe and feeling safe is a priority for the council. We recognise that domestic abuse devastates lives, and we are working to put a stop to it amongst our tenants, residents, and employees. 

DAHA accreditation is cited as best practice in the national Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy.  

DAHA measures eight priority areas that consider an organisation's operations to delivers safe and effective interventions in domestic abuse. It also helps builds in processes that help guide staff to address the needs of survivors and hold abusers to account.

Islington Council can announce today (15 December) that it has proved it can meet these needs and has met the necessary criteria to gain this accreditation. 

Some of the best practice principles the council enacted include: 

  • All caretakers, concierge staff, housing repairs operatives and other frontline workers are given training in spotting the signs of domestic abuse, as well as prompt cards to carry with them, so that housing staff can be notified and intervene early
  • 26 domestic abuse Champions recruited across Housing Tenancy Services who are responsible for cascading resources, information, learning and good practice to colleagues across the council
  • The council worked with specialist domestic abuse partner Solace Women’s Aid to provide enhanced training to assist with identifying and responding safely and effectively to domestic abuse. This includes co-producing an educational video for use amongst caretakers, concierge, and repairs operatives. The video provides an overview of how domestic abuse presents itself, and offers guidance on how our staff should respond in the event they have cause for concern
  • Housing Tenancy Services developed a robust High Risk Moves Policy to support staff who respond to domestic abuse survivors who may have to move as a result of violence. The council also assists survivors who wish to remain in their homes by offering them Home Shelter, providing target hardening to properties
  • The council’s Human Resources directorate reviewed and raised awareness of its DVA (Domestic Violence and Abuse) Staff Policy and Managers Guidance to support staff who may be affected by domestic abuse
  • Posters and digital screens with information are displayed in Islington Council housing stock that signposts both survivors of abuse and perpetrators of abuse to help and support. Council offices display posters in staff workplaces to provide access to specialist agencies
  • The council’s DVA Specialist Lead provides an expert confidential service to staff in Housing who may be affected by domestic abuse

DAHA assessors commended council staff for showing a trauma and survivor-focused understanding of domestic abuse, with a very empathetic attitude across the organisation. Having a domestic abuse survivor co-chair the Violence Against Women and Girls Strategic Group puts their voice at the heart of decision-making. Partnership working with local organisation Solace was also commended, noting that extensive training workshops and videos given by Solace to frontline staff helps reinforce how council staff can help anyone in need.  

Assessors said: “We are delighted to award DAHA Accreditation to Islington Borough Council Housing Management. From the councillors to the frontline officers and operatives, the genuine dedication to domestic abuse has been wonderful to see – all involved should be incredibly proud of this achievement!”  

Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Executive Member for Housing and Development, said “In Islington, we want to make sure everyone has a secure place to call home, and ensure our communities are safe. This DAHA accreditation is a huge step for us in tackling domestic abuse and violence, and ending all gender-based violence in the borough. Although we are happy to see this accreditation, we know that it is just a first step in tackling all forms of abuse and violence in our housing, and we will not stop here.” 

Ending violence against women is a top priority for the council. Last month, it released a new Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy 2021 – 2026 that outlines its priorities in eliminating gender-based violence. In January 2020, the council also pledged to invest more than £2million extra funding to help tackle violence against women and girls, and has been continuing to work hard during the pandemic to protect those experiencing domestic abuse. 

In December 2020, Islington Council also passed a motion calling for the strengthening of legislation to make misogyny a hate crime. As part of this, the council continues to lobby Government for action to tackle harassment, misogyny, and domestic violence.    

Islington Council has also signed up to the ‘Make a Stand’ pledge which is a national partnership initiative between Chartered Institute of Housing, Women’s Aid, and DAHA. 

If you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse, you can. The government’s instructions about staying at home including for self-isolation do not apply. 

Notes to editors

Notes to editors 

  • DAHA is a national alliance between three agencies: housing associations Peabody (London) and Gentoo (Sunderland), and London-based charity, Standing Together Against Domestic Abuse. DAHA’s mission is to improve the housing sector’s response to domestic abuse through the introduction and adoption of an established set of standards and an accreditation process. Find more information at www.dahalliance.org.uk/ 
  • DAHA is backed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) 
  • Find out more about Islington Council’s Violence Against Women and Girls strategy here: www.islington.gov.uk/VAWG  
  • Domestic abuse can affect anyone, but it is estimated that almost 1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner. In Islington, like many other local authorities, domestic abuse is the biggest cause of referrals of children to Children’s Social Care. 
  • DAHA is the only project in the UK offering a domestic abuse accreditation for the housing sector.  
  • DAHA accreditation is recognised in the government's Ending Violence against Women and Girls Strategy: 2016 to 2020 
  • The accreditation process involved verification of evidence portfolio submitted, case audit of DVA cases, interviews with DAHA Steering Group Leads, interviews with senior leaders, front line staff across housing tenancy services and survivors. 

Media contact information

If you are a member of the media and would like more information please contact:

Islington Council media team – media@islington.gov.uk or 020 7527 2307.  Out of hours: 07769 163303

If you are a member of the public with a general question about the council please contact:

Access Islington – www.islington.gov.uk/contact-us or 020 7527 2000