News release from 09/01/2023

Lives will be saved through this work - our domestic abuse support is praised as a beacon of good practice

Domestic abuse support praised as a beacon of good practice

The domestic abuse support offered to residents by South Cambridgeshire District Council has been praised for being a beacon of good practice after being awarded national accreditation.

South Cambridgeshire District Council was given outright accreditation from the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA), the UK benchmark for how housing providers and local authority housing services should respond to domestic abuse.

In a report by DAHA assessors, the Council was praised for its inspiring work, including how survivors feel properly supported and listened to and for its ‘exemplary’ practice - including teamwork with local partnership agencies like Women’s Aid.

“To see the passion with which this project has been led has been inspiring,” the report by DAHA says. “We know the dedication, commitment, and hard work it takes to adopt and then embed, standards of good practice and the success here is well deserved. Lives will be saved through this work.

Some of the changes that have been implemented include:

  • Domestic abuse training programmes for all employees delivered by a domestic abuse specialist.
  • Updated policies and procedures including a tailored policy and procedure to support staff and a separate policy to support residents.
  • A network of Domestic Abuse Workplace Support contacts to provide guidance and signpost support.
  • Closer working arrangements with specialist support services
  • Targeted publicity and awareness raising campaigns

Cllr John Batchelor, Lead Cabinet Member at South Cambridgeshire District Council for Housing, said: “Domestic abuse affects people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds and affects both men and women. It is vital as a Council that we offer trusted support to those who need it. I am extremely proud of the service we have developed, and that the team’s hard work has been recognised through accreditation.”

Cllr Judith Rippeth, member of the DAHA Steering and Project Group, said: “We are incredibly proud of the support offered to residents in the district who need it and how Council staff work in a way that demonstrates understanding of people’s traumatic situation and ensures that their voices are heard. The report highlights our holistic approach to each case of domestic abuse and praises everyone who has worked so hard to achieve accreditation. Our dynamic team continues to stay ahead of best practice to offer excellent support to those in need in our local communities.”

The DAHA report highlights many areas of achievement and says that: “All involved should be incredibly proud of this achievement. It is evident that a great deal of work and commitment has gone into adopting and embedding the standards across the relevant departments, and wider across the organisation, adhering to values of innovation, dynamism, working together, and integrity.”

The report adds: “The assessor was extremely impressed by the thoroughness of the preparation and the enthusiasm of both the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance lead Heather Wood, the steering group and all staff interviewed, to continue to improve their response to domestic abuse.

“We heard so many positive observations about the notable change in the culture across the housing departments and how staff felt the accreditation process had improved their practice.

“We are really looking forward to seeing where the Council can take the work they have started. We are very proud to have awarded Accreditation – it was a joy to meet with so many passionate and dedicated people doing such great work.”

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