Chief Executive, Carol Matthews explains why Riverside has signed up to the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Make a Stand pledge
Every four years, we all get excited about the World Cup. (Well, some of us! As a Scot, I am completely disinterested).
Offices around the country have their sweepstakes. England fans just have that wee bit of hope that this time football might be coming home.
But behind this excitement and hope lies a shocking statistic. According to Pathway Project, when England lose, domestic abuse rises by 38%. This is truly frightening.
It is therefore timely that the Chartered Institute of Housing has launched its new campaign Make a Stand, which aims to engage housing associations to tackle domestic abuse.
It is a major part of the inspirational Alison Inman’s presidential appeal, and I had no hesitation in pledging support on behalf of Riverside.
Signing up to the campaign shows the sector’s commitment to making sure that we give this issue the degree of importance and attention it deserves.
We want our customers and colleagues to know that we take domestic abuse seriously and are committed to tackling it and supporting its victims.
At the present time, I understand about 150 other housing associations have signed up to the pledge. Whilst this is a good start, the whole sector needs to stand up and be counted by committing to the campaign. We have no excuses not to.
Seven women die each month as a result of domestic abuse. These seven women are friends, mothers, daughters, perhaps even women you worked with.
Each of these seven deaths is preventable and we as a sector can and must do something about it.
By signing up to the Make a Stand campaign, housing associations need to commit to four pledges that will genuinely help to prevent domestic abuse and support those experiencing it.
Riverside is already working on how we currently meet these pledges and importantly, how we can do more.
One of the pledges for example is to implement a policy to support staff that may be experiencing domestic abuse.
It is really important to stress that it is not just about our customers, and the communities in which we work.
It is also about recognising that domestic abuse can happen to anyone including the people we work with. It cuts across all age groups, genders and sectors of society.
The other day I spoke with a colleague who told me about a time when she was younger and had just begun working for Riverside.
She was working in a new city without her usual support network when her partner started to become abusive towards her.
Fortunately, the support from Riverside meant she was able to leave the situation and find a new home.
She credited Riverside for saving her when she was unsure who else could have helped without having her friends and family close by.
Stories like these make these campaigns all the more important as you realise you really are making a difference and helping to save lives.
I want to see every housing association make a commitment to tackling domestic abuse. So if you haven’t signed up to Make a Stand, I urge you to do so today.
As published in Inside Housing on 6 July 2018.