5 August 2020: Stonewater receives DAHA accreditation

Leading housing provider Stonewater has been recognised by Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) for its commitment to tackling domestic abuse and promoting equality with a formal accreditation.

Ben Jennings

The DAHA accreditation is the national benchmark for how housing providers should respond to domestic abuse, recognising that housing providers are in a unique position to identify abuse, prevent it and provide help for those affected.

Stonewater has always actively championed initiatives to support those experiencing domestic abuse, including signing the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Make a Stand pledge and is always looking for ways to adapt its services to ensure it is able to support the people who need it most.

As part of this work, Stonewater provides safe accommodation to some of the most marginalised groups in today’s society, through its specialist refuges. This includes an LGBTQ+ Safe Space and South Asian Women’s Refuge; all of which, offer practical and emotional support to residents.

Judith Vickress, National DAHA Development Manager, said: “Housing providers have a unique role in the coordinated community response (CCR) to domestic abuse and Stonewater epitomises this with its great partnership working across the regions they cover.”

In order to meet the DAHA accreditation standards, Stonewater was assessed against eight key standards, including policies and procedures, case management, risk management, equality and diversity, perpetrator management, partnership working, staff training and publicity and awareness.

Helena Doyle, Customer Experience Director at Stonewater, praised the commitment of her colleagues and explained how the organisation will continue its much-needed work to prevent, where possible, domestic abuse at home.

“By going through this process, we have been able to increase awareness and encourage more conversations around understanding the complexities of domestic abuse, amongst our colleagues. But we don’t want it to stop here,” she said.

“We are very proud to receive DAHA accreditation, but this is just the start of our journey at Stonewater. This work has led us to make improvements to our existing provisions, how we engage with customers who experience domestic abuse to get feedback and ensure we maintain high-quality support, as well as making sure our much-needed support is as accessible as possible.”

As part of the accreditation process DAHA assessors conducted a two-day visit at Stonewater’s Stourbridge office to interview colleagues and review how the organisation deals with cases of domestic abuse.

“Ahead of applying for the accreditation we set up a steering group with 16 representatives, all of whom helped us review every aspect of the business – from assets to maintenance and repairs – not just customer facing roles, to make sure we are delivering the best possible service.”

Judith, also said: “We were so delighted to receive a call from a domestic abuse lead immediately after the assessment to say “right, this is just the beginning for us we want to get better, continue to improve and do more, where do we start?” This is why we do what we do.

“We cannot wait to see where Stonewater go, with the passion and the drive of the staff we have no doubt that the lives of survivors including children will be improved and possibly saved. If we identify domestic abuse early, provide the right response every time, hold perpetrators to account together we can change the outcome for so many. Thank you to all at Stonewater, this is what you do.”

Stonewater is one of 19 housing providers DAHA accredited. For more information about its specialist support services, visit here.