Noise nuisance or domestic abuse?
Gudrun Burnet is working to tackle domestic abuse in residential blocks by working with property managers to raise awareness.
If you live in, own or manage a residential block, chances are that at some point you have had to deal with a difficult leaseholder or tenant. Generally a quiet word is enough to shame noisy neighbours into turning down the TV, throwing their party guests out at a reasonable time or keeping their music at a less-than-ear-shattering level. But sometimes anti-social behaviour is more difficult to tackle. You may be able to hear other residents rowing ? or worse. These situations are uncomfortable and most of us would prefer not to get involved.
A new campaign launched this year is raising awareness of domestic violence and abuse and aims to give both residents in residential blocks and their property managers a range of tools and strategies so that anyone in crisis can be supported rather than simply treated as another nuisance neighbour.
It is truly shocking that every week in England and Wales two women are killed by their partner or ex-partner and the police receive 100 calls an hour reporting domestic abuse. Men as well as women are affected. But domestic abuse is a hidden crime and people are often too afraid to speak out.
In response, earlier this year, the Chartered Institute of Housing launched Make a Stand. This campaign is mainly aimed at social housing providers but the initiative is just as relevant to private blocks.
The campaign?s four pledges are:
- To put in place a policy to support residents who are experiencing domestic abuse
- To make information about national and local domestic abuse support services available on your website, and in other places which are easily accessible to residents and staff
- To put in place an HR policy and procedure on domestic abuse, or to incorporate this into an existing policy, to support members of staff who are experiencing domestic abuse
- Appoint a ?champion? in your organisation to own the activity you are doing to support people experiencing domestic abuse.
A hundred organisations have already signed up to the CIH pledge, so why not get your block involved.
Gudrun Burnet, Senior Business Partner and the lead for tackling domestic abuse at Peabody, believes block managers have a vital role to play in raising awareness and in supporting anyone who may be experiencing domestic abuse. But residents can play their part too. So next time you hear your neighbours shouting, don?t dismiss it simply as noise nuisance; take a moment to ask yourself whether or not there is anything your block manager could do to ensure your fellow residents stay safe in their own homes.
Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
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