By facilitating property moves and transfers social landlords can support individuals experiencing domestic abuse and violence to remain safe in their own home. When dealing with requests from tenants to move, it is important each case involving domestic abuse is considered individually.
Victims may request a move but not disclose domestic abuse. During the Free from Fear consultation with tenants and service users, survivors revealed how difficult it can be to tell agencies about the abuse, due to the embarassment or shame they feel. Some survivors said they experienced domestic abuse for many years but never reported it to the police, their social landlord and any other agencies.
Victims often don't report abuse for fear of the consequence. They worry that the perpetrator will find out what they've disclosed and the abuse will worsen (becoming life threatening), or that social services will get involved and take the children away.
Some people beleive that the situation will improve and the abuse will stop (that's what the perpetrator may have told them).
It is important that processes for assessing eligibility for property moves on these grounds allow staff to use their professional judgement in combination with other criteria. This may include providing evidence or using testimonials from others, such as an employer, tutor, professional or specialist worker.
In cases where there has been no previous contact with agencies, providing evidence may be problematic, but this shouldn't exclude someone from being eligible for a property move or transfer.
Factors such as professional judgement should form part of the assessment process, as is the case in DASH risk assessment. In some cases it could be the basis for eligibility, especially when it's clear to housing professional that the individual would greatly benefit from a property move or transfer, due to the level of their fear and anxiety. A move is usually actioned from MARAC.
Housing staff should be familiar with their organisation's arrangements for dealing with property moves and transfers and any other local arrangements, such as accessing the common housing register.