New housing policy strengthens Council work to prevent domestic abuse

page 6 domestic abuse 02 September 2021
By Lucy Ashton

A new policy has been introduced to strengthen the Council’s approach to preventing and addressing domestic abuse in a housing and homelessness setting.

The policy, which was updated to reflect new national legislation, incorporates the existing No Home For Domestic Abuse approach, originally put in place in 2018.

When No Home for Domestic Abuse was introduced, the Council became the first social landlord in Scotland to introduce a zero tolerance approach to domestic abuse within its properties.

It introduced measures to ensure victims would have immediate access to practical help, specialist legal assistance as well as support following any incident of domestic abuse.

Previously, the Council had to use a combination of Anti-Social Behaviour powers in conjunction with Housing and Matrimonial Homes Legislation to remove  perpetrators from homes and prevent them from returning.

Now, an update to the law nationally means that the Council and all social landlords have explicit powers to take that removal action in their properties to protect domestic abuse victims.

The wider housing options, accommodation and support services available through No Home for Domestic Abuse to everyone resident of West Dunbartonshire.

Councillor Diane Docherty, Convener of Housing and Communities, said: “We are committed to addressing domestic violence in the local area and the strengthening of our stance on it with this new policy. It brings together all the different actions we take and will be reassuring to our residents.

“We want to ensure victims and survivors feel safe and supported and encouraged to come forward for help without the worry of losing their homes.”

Councillor Ian Dickson, Vice Convener of Housing and Communities, added: “As a Council, we have led the way with the steps we have taken to prevent domestic abuse in our homes. I am pleased that the law has caught up with the actions we have already been taking, and that we now have clear, explicit powers to remove any perpetrator from one of our homes.”

The policy has been created in close collaboration with West Dunbartonshire’s Violence against Women and Girls Partnership (VAWP).

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