SSJ is more than just a charity that provides housing and support services to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. SSJ is also a champion for people who are suffering from domestic abuse, which is a major cause and consequence of homelessness. Domestic abuse is not just physical violence, but any form of coercion or control that one person uses over another in an intimate or family relationship. It can happen to anyone, regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality, or disability.
SSJ has clear policies and processes to help service users, residents and staff who are facing or have faced domestic abuse. The policies explain how SSJ will train and equip its staff to deal with reports of domestic abuse in a way that is sensitive, respectful, and supportive. The policies also outline what SSJ will do if it suspects that a service user or resident may be a perpetrator.
The policies describe the actions that SSJ will take to prevent domestic abuse, support victims and survivors, pursue perpetrators, and build a stronger system. The policies and processes follow the government’s Tackling Domestic Abuse Plan, which aims to reduce the number of domestic abuse cases and deaths and provide better support for victims and survivors. Some of the actions that SSJ will take include:
- Educating staff, service users, residents, and partners about domestic abuse and how to recognise and respond to it
- Providing safe and suitable housing for service users and residents who need to escape or avoid domestic abuse
- Offering personalised and trauma informed support to service users and residents who are affected by domestic abuse, including access to specialist services, advocacy, counselling, legal advice, and safety planning
- Working with perpetrators to challenge their behaviour and reduce the risk of harm to themselves and others
- Collaborating with local authorities, police, health services, and other agencies to share information, coordinate responses, and improve outcomes for service users and residents who are affected by domestic abuse
SSJ believes that everyone deserves to live without fear of violence or abuse. By implementing these policies and processes, SSJ hopes to create a safe space for service users and residents who are going through or recovering from domestic abuse, while sending out a strong message that domestic abuse is not tolerated.
If residents suspect domestic abuse in an SSJ property, they should do the following:
- Contact their supporting staff or the housing management team on (freephone) 0800 987 4150 and report their concerns. They can also ask to speak to a DA Lead within their service, who is a staff member trained to deal with domestic abuse cases. Or for out of hours support call the Operational Security Team on (023 8063 2544).
- If they witness or hear an incident of domestic abuse, they should call 999 and ask for the police. They should not intervene directly, as this may increase risk to all parties.
- If they are friends or neighbours with the survivor, they should offer them support and empathy, but respect their confidentiality and choices. They should not pressure them to leave or confront the perpetrator, as this may make the situation worse.
- If they are affected by domestic abuse themselves, they should seek help from SSJ or other specialist services. SSJ has policies and processes to support service users and residents who are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse. SSJ will provide them with information, advice, advocacy, safety planning, and access to specialist services.
- If they are perpetrators of domestic abuse, they should recognise that their behaviour is unacceptable and harmful. They should seek help from SSJ or other specialist services to change their behaviour and reduce the risk of harm to themselves and others.
For further details visit the SSJ Service User and Residents Association site.