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Domestic Abuse policy

1. Introduction to the Domestic Abuse policy

  1. 1. Introduction

    1. 1.1. This policy sets out how Great Yarmouth Borough Council (The Council) will assist and support any person who approaches the organisation experiencing or threatened with domestic abuse from either within or outside of the borough.
    2. 1.2. The Council is committed to ensure everyone who approaches us affected by domestic abuse will be dealt with in a sympathetic, sensitive manner and treated in a non-judgmental way.
    3. 1.3. The Council recognises many victims of domestic abuse will not approach agencies for months or even years and it can take many incidents before they seek support. The Council believes that each incident of domestic abuse including the first is a serious offence. The Council will work with those who are experiencing domestic abuse for the first time through to those who have suffered repeatedly.
    4. 1.4. The Council is part of the Norfolk Domestic Abuse Partnership Board which consists of other key agencies in the county of Norfolk to offer support and information to survivors of domestic abuse.
    5. 1.5. The Council is working towards DAHA (Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance) Accreditation in 2023/24.
    6. 1.6. The Council also has a policy for any staff and elected members that may be experiencing domestic abuse, this can be found on the Council's intranet page.
    7. 1.7. Individual residents experiencing domestic abuse do not have to have a local connection to an area, they have the right to apply to any authority. It is the council's duty to investigate the case on an individual basis.

2. Aims and objectives

  1. 2. Aims and objectives

    1. 2.1. This policy:
      • commits the Council to support anyone who approaches Great Yarmouth Borough Council - no one should live in fear of violence, abuse, or harassment from a partner, ex-partner or any member of their family
      • embeds across the Council a culture where all disclosures of domestic abuse are taken seriously and treated in a non-judgemental way and assistance is given as a priority
      • ensures that all staff across the Council have the skills and knowledge to be able to identify signs of domestic abuse and be able to be act at the earliest opportunity
      • raises awareness among members of the public about how to make appropriate safeguarding referrals if it is believed a child or vulnerable adult is at risk of domestic abuse
      • complies with legislation and recognises children as victims of domestic abuse in their own right
      • ensures the Council works in partnership with other agencies to support anyone who approaches the Council and is experiencing or has experienced abuse to seek help
      • supports victims to be able to make their own decisions around their housing need and ensure the safety of the victim is always paramount
      • ensures that victims from every background regardless of their identity; gender; age; race; religion; class; or disability are treated as equals
      • works in partnership with the appropriate agencies and with perpetrators of domestic abuse who want to change their behaviour


3. Related legislations and documents

  1. 3. Related legislations and documents

    1. 3.1. Related legislation include:
      • Domestic Abuse Act (2021)
      • Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act (2014)
      • Children Act 1989 as amended 2004
      • Clare's Law/Domestic Abuse Offender Disclosure Scheme (DVDS) (2014)
      • Data Protection Act (2018)
      • Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act (2004)
      • Equality Act (2010)
      • Family Law Act (1996)
      • Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003)
      • Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act (2007)
      • Homelessness Act (2002)
      • Housing Act (1988, 1996)
      • Human Rights Act 1998
      • Police and Justice Act 2006
      • Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
      • Serious Crime Act 2015
      • Stalking Protection Act (2019)
    2. 3.2. Related documents include:
      • Great Yarmouth Borough Council Safeguarding policy
      • Great Yarmouth Borough Council Domestic Abuse Policy - Staff and Members 2023
      • Norfolk Domestic Abuse Housing Protocol 2002-2025
      • Great Yarmouth Borough Council Anti-social Behaviour policy 2018

4. Definition of Domestic Abuse

  1. 4. Definition of Domestic Abuse

    1. 4.1. Domestic abuse can begin at any stage of a relationship and may continue after the relationship has ended. Domestic abuse does not discriminate and can affect anyone regardless of their gender; ethnicity; religion; class; age; sexuality; disability or lifestyle. 
    2. 4.2. Domestic abuse is a criminal offence and the Council encourage people to report it to the police, whether they are the victim of abuse or witness abuse. 
    3. 4.3. The Statutory definition of domestic abuse as defined by the Domestic Abuse Act 2021:
      1. Behaviour of a person ("A") towards another person ("B") is domestic abuse if:
        1. (1) A and B are each aged 16 or over and are personally connected to each other, and
        2. (2) Behaviour is abusive, and it does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct.
        3. (3) Behaviour is "abusive" if it consists of any of the following:
          1. (a) physical or sexual abuse
          2. (b) violent or threatening behaviour
          3. (c) controlling or coercive behaviour
          4. (d) economic abuse (see subsection (4))
          5. (e) psychological, emotional, or other abuse
        4. (4) "Economic abuse" means any behaviour that has a substantial adverse effect on B's ability to:
          1. (a) acquire, use or maintain money or other property, or
          2. (b) obtain goods or services.
        5. (5) For the purposes of this Act, A's behaviour may be behaviour "towards' B's despite the fact that it consists of conduct directed at another person (for example, B's child).
    4. 4.4.    What we mean by 'Personally Connected'
      1. (1) Two people are 'personally connected' to each other if any of the following applies: 
        1. (a) they are or have been married to each other     
        2. (b) they are or have been civil partners of each other
        3. (c) they have agreed to marry one another (whether or not the agreement has been terminated) 
        4. (d) they have entered into a civil partnership agreement (whether or not the agreement has been terminated) 
        5. (e) they are, or have been, in an intimate personal relationship with each other 
        6. (f) they each have, or there has been a time when they each have had, a parental relationship in relation to the same child (see subsection (2))
        7. (g) they are relatives.
      2. For the purposes of subsection (1) (f) a person has a parental relationship in relation to a child if: 
        1. (a) the person is a parent of the child, or 
        2. (b) the person has parental responsibility for the child.
      3. In this section:
        • 'child' means a person under the age of 18 years
        • 'civil partnership agreement' has the meaning given by section 73 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004
        • 'parental responsibility' has the same meaning as in the Children Act 1989
        • 'relative' has the meaning given by section 63 (1) of the Family Law Act 1996
    5. 4.5. Children as Victims of Domestic Abuse
      1. (1) Any reference in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 to a victim of domestic abuse includes a reference to a child who:
        1. (a) sees or hears, or experiences the effect of, the abuse, and
        2. (b) is related to A or B.
      2. (2) A child is related to a person for the purposes of subsection (2) if:
        1. (a) the person is a parent of, or has parental responsibility for, the child, or
        2. (b) the child and the person are relatives 
      3. (3) In this section: 
        • 'child' means person under the age of 18 years
        • 'parental responsibility' has the same meaning as in the Children Act 1989 (see   section 3 of that Act)
        • 'relative' has the meaning given by section 63 (1) of the Family Law Act 1996

5. Types of Domestic Abuse

  1. 5. Types of Domestic Abuse

    1. 5.1. Domestic Abuse can take on many forms not just physical or mental abuse:
      • Sexual Abuse - rape or forcing a victim into taking part in other forms of sexual acts, sexual abuse of children
      • Psychological and Emotional abuse -including isolating the victim, for example preventing them from seeing friends or family; using threats to kill their family; children or pets - this also includes humiliating their victim and telling them no one would believe them if they tried telling people what was happening
      • Economic Abuse - controlling money and bank accounts, running up debts in victims name, preventing a person from working
      • Online and Digital Abuse - sharing information or photos without consent.
      • Honour Based Violence - offences carried out to protect the perceived honour of a family or a community
        • this abuse is often carried out by family members
        • this includes forced marriages
      • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) - partial or total loss of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons
      • Controlling Behaviour - range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and or dependent by isolating them from sources of support:
        • exploiting their resources
        • capacities for personal gain
        • depriving them of the means needed for independence
        • resistance
        • escape
        • regulating their everyday behaviour
      • Coercive Behaviour - act or pattern of acts of assault; threats; humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm; punish or frighten their victim


6. Council advice and services

  1. 6. Council advice and services

    1. 6.1. The Council is the largest landlord in the borough. Through provisioning a homelessness support, housing advice and other inter-related customer-facing services, the Council's staff can provide the following support:
      • DASH Assessments (Domestic Abuse, Stalking, Harassment and Honour Based Violence Assessment) - Completed with every individual who approaches the Council to ascertain the level of risk to the individual
      • Safe Home Scheme - Refer persons at risk and survivors to our 'Sanctuary Scheme' to consider target hardening measures on the property to support them to remain in the home
      • Accommodation - Provide emergency accommodation if resident unable to stay in their home
      • Support - Report safeguarding concerns and provide referrals to refuge spaces and liaise other agencies/charities to provide support where required

7. Awareness and prevention

  1. 7. Awareness and prevention

  2. 7.1. Within our organisation we have staff and elected members who have received specialist training as Domestic Abuse Champions. As part of this role, they offer support and advice to colleagues in relation to good practice and to ensure staff know how to access support.
  3. 7.2. As a Council we are committed to raising awareness of domestic violence and encourage anyone that is experiencing it to engage with support services.

8. Perpetrator accountability

  1. 8. Perpetrator Accountability

  2. 8.1. We understand that perpetrators of Domestic Abuse may approach the council for help with homelessness advice. The Council can be approached for help by calling 01493 846140. In this scenario, the caller will be assisted to find alternative accommodation. However, they may be disqualified from joining the Council Allocation scheme if they are the proven perpetrator of Domestic Abuse. For more information, please see the Council's Allocation Scheme.
  3. 8.2. Being a perpetrator does not exclude a person from Statutory Homeless Duties owed to them. 
  4. 8.3. If a perpetrator of Domestic Abuse approaches the Council wanting help to address their behaviour, we will signpost the individual to the appropriate services.

9. Multi-Agency Working

  1. 9. Multi-Agency Working

  2. 9.1. The Council recognises that when an individual is experiencing domestic abuse many other agencies may be involved in their care. To understand the needs of the individual officers will work closely with Great Yarmouth's Community Hub, which is a collaboration hub with other agencies to develop an agreed support plan. Staff also participate in the Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership Group (DASVG) and Norfolk Domestic Abuse Partnership Board.
  3. 9.2.    Agencies working through the Community Hub include:
    • Police
    • Specialist domestic abuse services (NIDAS or Leeway)
    • Independent Domestic Violence Advisers (IDVA)
    • Adult Social Services
    • Children's Services
    • Mental Health
    • Doctors
    • Schools/Colleges
    • Legal Advisory Services
    • Registered Providers
    • Other Councils  
  4. 9.3. MARAC (The Multi Agency Risk Assessment Co-ordination) assess and provide detailed support plans for the most serious cases where persons are either at risk of or experienced domestic abuse. All victims who scores high on a DASH Assessment they will be referred to MARAC.
  5. 9.4. Referrals to MARAC can be made with or without consent. Referrals made without consent will be made to protect the victim and their family from potentially serious harm.
  6. 9.5. On a regular basis staff members from the homeless department attend various partnership boards.

10. Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) values and principles

  1. 10. DAHA values and principles

    1. 10.1. The Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) aim to improve the response of the housing sector to domestic abuse through the introduction and adoption of a standards of good practice, and through undertaking an accreditation process.
    2. 10.2. Great Yarmouth Borough Council is committed to gaining accreditation for the Council as a whole in 2023/24. See Appendix 1 for DAHA Priority Areas and Values.

11. Confidentiality

  1. 11. Confidentiality

  2. 11.1. Disclosures of Domestic Abuse will be treated in the strictest of confidence, however the Council have a duty to disclose information in the following circumstances:

    • to protect the victim
    • to prevent harm to someone else
    • to prevent or detect a crime

12. Equality and diversity

  1. 12. Equality and diversity

    1. 12.1. Great Yarmouth Borough Council is committed to:
      • meeting the needs and choices of people from all backgrounds
      • understanding the cultural implications and barriers to reporting domestic abuse
      • ensuring services are accessible to everyone
    2. 12.2. To support the needs of customers whose first language is not English, the Council will provide translation and interpretation services when needed.
    3. 12.3. The Council's commitment to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion can be found in the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategy 2022 - 2025. 

13. Review

  1. 13. Review

    1. 13.1. This policy will be reviewed every 3 years or sooner if there are changes in legislation. This policy will be reviewed in line with organisational procedures unless there are changes in related legislation, best practice or other organisation policies impact on its effectiveness. Reviews of this Policy may be informed by feedback including from staff and residents with lived experience, Domestic Homicide Reviews and Serious Case Reviews.
Details about the status of this document
Date of policyNovember 2023
Owner of policyHousing Options Domestic Abuse Advisor
Ratified byCabinet - 4 December 2023
Review dateDecember 2024 (or as legislation requires)

14. Data protection

  1. 14. Data protection

    1. 14.1. The Council processes any personal data collected during the capability (performance) procedure in accordance with its Data Protection Policy. Any data collected is held securely and accessed by, and disclosed to, individuals only for the purposes of completing the capability (performance) procedure. Inappropriate access or disclosure of employee data constitutes a data breach and should be reported in accordance with the Council's data protection policy immediately. It may also constitute a disciplinary offence, which will be dealt with under the disciplinary procedure.

15. Useful contacts

  1. 15. Useful contacts

Appendix 1: Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) priority areas and values

  1. Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) priority areas and values

    1. 1.1. DAHA consists of 8 different priority areas:

      • Policies and Procedures

      • Staff Development and Support

      • Partnership and Collaboration

      • Safety-led Case management

      • Survivor led support

      • Intersectional and anti-racist practice

      • Perpetrator Accountability

      • Publicity and Awareness raising

    2. 1.2. DAHA values:

      • Integrity

      • Collaboration

      • Empathy

      • Empowerment

      • Respect

      • Accountability

      • Non-judgement and belief

      • Being person centred

      • Amplifying victim/survivor voice

      • Victim/survivor safety

      • Working towards a Coordinated community response (CCR)

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