Issue - meetings
(a) That the report be noted; and
(b) That the Committee support the ongoing work of the Neighbourhood Housing Team in tackling domestic abuse.
The Neighbourhood Housing Manager introduced a report to provide an overview and update of the work taking place within Neighbourhood Housing in relation to customers who were affected by domestic abuse.
The Committee were shown a dvd entitled ‘Leaving’ which had been requested by Councillor Peter Curtis. In response to a comment from Councillor George Hardcastle about the content of the dvd, the Neighbourhood Housing Manager said that it was hardhitting and disturbing but was a harsh reality of the issues that some Council tenants faced.
The Neighbourhood Housing Manager explained that it was difficult to measure the number of cases of domestic abuse as not all incidents were reported. Figures provided by Police indicated that there were 2348 recorded incidents of domestic abuse in Flintshire in 2012/13 and on average, people had 30 experiences of domestic abuse before they sought help.
Councillor Hilary Isherwood felt that the dvd had been difficult to watch. She spoke of issues around domestic abuse, both physically and mentally, and how it could be-little people that were experiencing it and highlighted the fact that a significant number of people over the age of 70 were also domestically abused. She felt that discussions around domestic abuse should be included in the school curriculum and said that it was important to highlight the issue before it became a problem. Councillor Isherwood said that the dvd highlighted that making the call to seek help was difficult. The Neighbourhood Housing Manager commented on the work of the Housing Officers and the relationships that the officers built up with the tenants and said that it was important that the officers were trained to deal with such disclosures of domestic abuse.
Councillor Sharon Williams thanked the officer for the dvd and welcomed the training for Housing officers to allow them to look out for any signs of domestic abuse. She spoke of signposting to agencies that could provide assistance and support for victims and welcomed that awareness of the issue was being raised within the Housing Service.
The Neighbourhood Housing Manager commented on the multi-agency arrangements around domestic abuse and spoke of the work undertaken at the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC). The number of referrals to MARAC by housing staff had historically been low but it was felt that this could be because an appropriate referral had already been made to MARAC by other agencies or the Police. This had prompted the team in Neighbourhood Housing to ask whether there were opportunities to identify domestic abuse being missed. The Housing Service was working with the Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator within Community Safety and other social landlords in the area to enhance the approach to identifying and dealing with incidents of domestic abuse.
It was reported that Housing Officers and front line staff who may go into customer’s homes would be trained, which would also include the Council’s Income Officers who were to be trained in recognising domestic abuse and being confident to ask the right questions. Trades staff such ... view the full minutes text for item 3