Dundee Women’s Aid has welcomed a new plan to support council tenants experiencing domestic abuse.
Many women who flee an abuser find themselves homeless, but Dundee City Council’s new domestic abuse policy could markedly reduce the chances of this happening.
The neighbourhood services committee is due to meet on Monday evening to discuss the proposals.
The plan will have a victim-centred approach to help give women and families the option of staying in their own home.
A new clause will be introduced to all council tenancy agreements to emphasise domestic abuse will not be tolerated and detail the implications for any perpetrators.
Families and women experiencing domestic abuse will also be able to transfer to another council house more easily under the new plan.
‘This will hold perpetrators to account’
Mary Miller, manager of Dundee Women’s Aid, said: “This is very much welcomed for housing services to recognise domestic abuse is unacceptable and against the law.
“It is about looking at each individual and seeing what their desires are and putting women at the centre of the decision-making.
“This will hold perpetrators to account as it will make them have to think about the roof over their heads, and it will allow women more choice on what needs to happen.
“Many women have to move into a safe address and this leaves the perpetrator as a single person in a house suitable for a family, whereas with this new policy they can be rehoused into a smaller property instead.
“And a lot of women struggle with the ‘homeless’ label on top of the ‘domestic abuse’ label, but this policy will introduce housing management transfers.
“This means they can remain in their own home or go to a refuge until a suitable property is found and then they can just transfer to a new property rather than going down the homelessness route.”
The plan comes after the council signed the ‘Make a Stand’ pledge back in February 2019 committing to making sure council tenants affected by domestic abuse are well supported.
Proposals also recommend that council housing staff, such as maintenance, tradesmen, contractors, community safety wardens, staff in the safety alarm and response centre and support staff, will also be given training on how to spot domestic abuse every two years as the ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground.
Mary said: “I think this will go really far because everyone will get a basic level of training across the board.
“So, for example, workmen going into properties to constantly fill holes in the walls or broken doors can be trained to pass on that concern and highlight there is a suspicion of domestic abuse going on.
“Other staff such as housing options officers will get more in-depth training as well to be able to ask those more difficult questions.
“I support this 100%.”