Cambridge City Council has been reaccredited by the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) for its continued work as a housing provider to tackle domestic abuse.
The council was first accredited by DAHA in 2019. The accreditation is recognised as a national benchmark for how housing providers should respond to domestic abuse, given that they are in a unique position to identify it, prevent it and provide help for people suffering its effects.
To achieve its re-accreditation the council had to meet new, more rigorous DAHA criteria to demonstrate the quality of service it provides to those seeking housing advice, and supporting tenants, residents and council staff who may be experiencing domestic abuse.
As part of the accreditation process DAHA assessors inspected the council’s procedures and case files, and interviewed staff.
The assessors praised the council’s work, including:
- The quality of risk assessments completed
- Demonstrating a proactive approach to identifying signs of domestic abuse in people approaching the council for housing support, plus other residents and council staff
- Providing a trauma informed, non-judgemental and believing response
- Partnering with other agencies to tailor the service provided according to survivors’ individual needs
It was also recognised that the council has consistently partnered with DAHA, specialist domestic abuse organisations and survivors themselves to seek feedback as to how to improve the service that they offer. The council has also hosted awareness raising events, supported other local organisations that are seeking accreditation and have taken up opportunities to pilot new ideas and courses.
Cllr Alice Gilderdale, Executive Councillor for Community Wealth Building and Community Safety, said: “We are very proud to have been accredited again by the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance, but we will continue to do all we can to end domestic abuse, as no one should have to suffer in this way. The DAHA accreditation is just part of our ongoing work with a wide range of partners to support and protect some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”
Cllr Gerri Bird, Executive Councillor for Housing and Homelessness, said: “As a council we do everything we can to tackle the scourge of domestic abuse, which has a huge impact on people’s lives and can lead to people becoming homeless or sleeping rough. As Cambridge’s largest provider of housing we are in a unique position to identify and tackle domestic abuse, and to then provide all the confidential help and support that people need.”
Sharon Crosby, Senior Development Manager at DAHA, said: “We are delighted that Cambridge City Council, the first local authority in East Anglia to become DAHA accredited in 2019, has now received re-accreditation in 2023 to a set of more rigorous standards than the first assessment – which is a huge achievement.
“It has been very rewarding to see the improvements that have been made since the first accreditation. It demonstrates that the commitment to the co-ordinated community response to domestic abuse, and the improvements made, have become embedded in the housing teams in a culture that is supportive and survivor-led. It has been an absolute pleasure working with staff who have shown such passion, dedication and creativity. I wish them success and look forward to continuing to work with them as they push through even further with ideas for innovation that they have.”
As well as the DAHA accreditation, the council works in a number of other ways to minimise domestic abuse and to support victims locally.
It works closely with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership, which aims to reduce the harm, risks and costs associated with domestic abuse and sexual violence and to prevent these crimes occurring across Cambridgeshire.
Cambridge City Council is a member of the Cambridge Community Safety Partnership which prioritises particular issues in the city related to crime, disorder, antisocial behaviour and more.
It has also been accredited with White Ribbon status since 2015. White Ribbon is an international campaign to end male violence against women by working with men and boys to challenge cultures that lead to harassment, abuse and violence against women.