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Those working for housing providers who make contact with residents are being trained to spot the signs of domestic abuse. 

Anybody responding to calls to housing providers seeking help with changing locks, smashed windows or disturbances are to consider the signs of domestic abuse. The move follows an increase of reported cases by 1500% at Peabody Housing Association in London, which has created the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA). 

Peabody, whose 28,000 homes are home to over 80,000 residents, has reportedly seen reports of domestic abuse come in from a broad range of professionals; from those making routine maintenance calls to those responding to urgent requests. 

Essentially, if a tenant makes repeated calls for a change of locks or vandalism for example, the housing association’s team checks to see whether domestic abuse could be present. 

This could help victims of domestic abuse. After all, research suggests that, on average, women will experience 35 incidents of abuse before reaching out to the police. 

The purpose of the DAHA is to encourage more housing providers to play a role in detecting domestic abuse, which they believe will help those reluctant to report incidents to the police.

The overall aim is to improve the housing sector’s response to domestic abuse, using an accreditation process that assesses housing providers.  

Finding social housing to re-home victims of domestic abuse is reportedly becoming increasingly difficult as availability diminishes and welfare reforms take shape. The challenge for housing associations and social work professionals will be making sure the needs of victims are swiftly addressed once they’ve been identified as needing alternative accommodation. 

It’ll be interesting then to see what impact the newly introduced housing and planning act will have over the coming months and years. 

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