Having supported 200 victims of domestic abuse since 2015, we’ve seen all too often the devastation abusers cause and the support social landlords should offer to victims.
That’s why Greenfields have no hesitation in joining hundred of other UK housing associations by signing up to the Chartered Institute of Housing’s ‘Make a Stand’ campaign.
On average, two women are killed by their partner or ex-partner every week in England and Wales*. Launched in June, the national campaign commits housing organisations to complete four actions to help reduce domestic abuse affecting staff and residents.
Since April 2015, Greenfields, in partnership with Essex Police and other local organisations, has offered support and advice to around 200 residents experiencing domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse covers a range of behaviours occurring within intimate relationships as well as between family members, including physical, psychological, sexual, threats and intimidation and financial abuse.
Karen**, a Greenfields resident, was in an abusive relationship for several years. Her ex-partner was violent and abusive from the early days of their relationship:
“Colleagues and other people knew about the abuse as they had seen the injuries, but I used to make up excuses. I once had to go to hospital after he had hurt me, as I was unable to empty my bladder, but I told the doctor that I had fallen down the stairs. He also used to force me to take drugs and have sex with him.
“He used to check up on me all day. And I wasn’t allowed to use my bank card, even though I was the only one working.”
Whenever Karen tried to end the relationship, he threatened to kill himself and said he would seek help, although he never did. “When I finally decided I’d had enough, he assaulted me in front of our young child and left, again threatening to kill himself.”
At this point, Karen was still unaware that she was the victim of abuse, only that what was happening felt wrong: “I reported him as missing to the police. I didn’t tell them that he was violent at first, because I didn’t realise this was abuse.”
It was only when Essex Police and Greenfields visited Karen that she realised the true extent of what she had been through, and that help was available: “Lena, my Greenfields Neighbourhood Co-ordinator, was fantastic. And their Repairs Team immediately fitted security measures to my home to help keep me safe, such as new locks on my home and shed.
“Greenfields have gone above and beyond anything I would have expected and I am now receiving ongoing support from various organisations.”
Sandra Crosby, Greenfields’ Housing Director, said: “Any form of domestic abuse is unacceptable and we work closely with organisations like the Police and Safer Places to help keep our residents – both male and female – safe and offer as much guidance and advice as we can.
“Our actions as part of the Make a Stand campaign are ensuring that this help continues, and that any resident or staff member who may be experiencing domestic abuse also has support available to them.”
Neighbourhood Co-ordinators (NCOs) provide help and support to those experiencing domestic abuse. One NCO is a member of the Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference, which includes local partners, such as Essex Police, who meet weekly to discuss abuse reports and action taken. This staff member also attends Community Safety Partnership Meetings and works from Braintree Police Station when required, to strengthen our partnership approach even further.
We can also sign-post perpetrators of domestic abuse to the help and support available from the Change Project; a service provided by Relate North Essex and East Herts.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any form of abuse, please click on this link to find out more: Domestic Abuse You can report domestic abuse in confidence by calling Essex Police on the emergency number: 999, non-emergencies number: 101, or by calling 01376 535400 if you are a Greenfields resident.
Find out more about the campaign by clicking on this link: Make a Stand
*Office for National Statistics (2018)
**name has been changed