Wokingham Borough Council is adopting a local Anti-Abuse Charter following approval at its meeting on Thursday 20 January.
The council has been working closely with local domestic abuse charity, Kaleidoscopic UK, to ensure that the local charter reflects the views of Wokingham borough victim-survivors. The charter will make the intentions of the council clear and help borough residents, including victims and survivors, understand the council’s commitment towards fostering a deep-rooted culture and step change on violence and abuse.
The charter would assist to champion the council’s new Domestic Abuse Strategy (2021-2024) which sets out its approach to raise awareness and provide support to domestic abuse victims and their children, holding perpetrators to account, educating children and young adolescences to become less accepting of violence and abuse, and work towards long-term wellbeing.
Executive member for neighbourhood and communities Cllr Bill Soane said, “Following on from the roll-out of our Domestic Abuse Strategy, we are committed to building a safe and strong community and preventing any form of violence or abuse against anyone living in Wokingham Borough.
“The Anti-Abuse Charter will formally commit officers and councillors to championing a culture of high standards by reporting domestic abuse and supporting victims throughout their recovery journey, including being informed on recognising signs of trauma and preventing victim blaming.”
Chief executive officer at Kaleidoscopic UK, Vickie Robertson said, “We are delighted the council has received the Anti-Abuse Charter with great enthusiasm and been fully supportive, taking it to council to be voted on.
"It will help create vital change for all victim-survivors by including trauma informed responses, allowing them to feel heard and fully supported.
"It will enable those subjected to abuse in coming forward knowing they will be taken seriously, plus sending a message to perpetrators that any form of abuse or harassment in any setting in the borough will not be tolerated."
How we're delivering the Domestic Abuse Strategy
The council has ramped up its delivery of the Domestic Abuse Strategy internally including undertaking a comprehensive audit and review of training for officers and frontline staff to ensure they are fully trained to help victims, the adoption of the Workplace Domestic Abuse Guidance to ensure managers can recognise and spot signs to help support staff members who are experiencing domestic abuse and need help. The council is an active member of a number of national accredited programmes including the Employers Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA) which ensures help and support is readily available in the workplace.
Work has started on securing Domestic Abuse Housing Accreditation (DAHA) for the council’s housing services. This will ensure the council takes clear actions and focused steps, in both policies and practice, to deliver the safest and most effective response for domestic abuse victims seeking help from the council.
The council has one of the most comprehensive Home Security Schemes, often referred to as a Sanctuary Scheme. The scheme offers practical home security adaptations to secure properties for victims. This offer of help is for all residents, in privately owned, rented, council or housing association properties. The scheme provides an essential and practical offer off help for victims of domestic abuse and assists them to stay in their own homes. The scheme is in response to victims who have told the council they would prefer to have their homes adapted, were safe and possible.
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