Since I decided to make domestic abuse the focus of my year as president of CIH, I’ve been overwhelmed by the response, both from our members and from the wider housing sector.
In fact it says everything about why this is an issue we need to take seriously.
Barely a week has gone by without someone making a disclosure to me about domestic abuse they have suffered or are suffering.
Together we build, manage and maintain homes. Not units, but homes. And a home should be a place of safety, a place where we relax and feel secure.
Housing organisations have unique access to their communities. We build, manage and maintain homes and we provide something most people would consider to be their most important possession – a home.
For too many people a home is far from being a safe place. Incidents of domestic abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse, and coercive control, remain stubbornly high. Seven women a month still lose their lives and women are more likely than men to experience multiple, and varied, incidents of abuse.
We all have a duty to do we can to tackle this issue and we can all play a part. And while I know there is some outstanding work going on in the sector I also know that we can do so much more to help our tenants and our communities, to educate our teams and ultimately to save people from the despair of an abusive relationship.
I have the privilege of nominating a charity for my presidential year and I am delighted that I will be raising money for Women’s Aid, and its sister organisations across the UK.
And I have a simple idea which I hope people can sign up to so that this charity can continue to do the crucial work it does to support domestic abuse victims.
You might remember the campaign a few years ago to make sure women were better represented on the reverse of banknotes. The recently introduced ten pound note features Jane Austen, and people have been using that as opportunity to donate to charity.
As we approach Christmas it would be great if you could do the same and donate a new tenner to Women’s Aid – whether it’s a real one or a virtual one. You can make a donation and support the crucial work that they do really easily here.
We can all play a part in helping to tackle domestic abuse; whether it’s doing something in our organisations or making a donation.
If you want to be involved you can find out more about my presidential appeal here.