The Whole Housing programme brings together domestic abuse systems leaders who have established a comprehensive housing practice in relation to domestic abuse and deliver a ‘Whole Housing’ approach.
Whole housing approach provides individual support to a diverse range of surivors of domestic abuse and their children to ensure the accommodation they have is safe where ever possible, including private housing, social housing, refuges or any other accommodation type. The aim is to increase safety and choice for the victims and their children to reduce the use of costly emergency and/or refuge support and ensure that where practical, survivors remain in their own homes.
The lack of safe housing can have a large impact on various other aspects of a survivors life. Even in the case that a woman accesses the criminal justice system, it is often the other mounting issues that prevent them from feeling that justice has been reached. This can include the instability of housing and for many this instability can make them feel that their only option is to return back to the perpetrator.
What is co-located advocacy
Co-located housing advocacy is a form of community-based specialist domestic abuse advocacy support that focuses on the woman’s self-identified needs.
The role includes listening to the woman, gaining an understanding of her needs, providing information, to empower the woman to make informative decisions, offering emotional support and advocacy – including offering advice and information about the housing options available to her.
The co-located role aims to improve access to specialist domestic abuse support for women who approach the local authority for housing. The model benefits the host service as staff working in these departments develop their understanding of, and practice around, domestic abuse through a range of means including direct and indirect trainings, briefings and consultations that can be general or case specific.
The principles of co-located advocacy;
- Community-based working: Barriers to accessing services are lowered as much as possible
- Trauma-informed approach: Trauma-informed services take care to ensure that survivors are not retraumatised and aim to ensure healing through collaboration.
- Advocates are led by the needs of the woman
- Co-located advocates offer support to the woman regardless of their risk level
- The co-located advocate actively works to help the host service to improve their response to domestic abuse and the wider coordinated community response
A mobile advocate offers direct support to the woman in a range of community settings, or at a venue of her choosing based on her individual needs. Help is offered with securing emergency and longer term, stable housing. This can include exploring the option of remaining in her existing property or safely relocating if needed.
Mobile advocacy is a key component of the Whole Housing Approach Programme. It aims to support women facing multiple disadvantage, who are also facing difficulty securing safe housing due to domestic abuse.
Key components include;
- Mobile advocacy engages the woman to overcome multiple disadvantage and achieve or maintain secure housing
- Mobile advocacy is not used as a crisis response.
A gender- and trauma-informed approach is used to guide conversations
- The woman’s needs underpin the support provided.
Participation in mobile advocacy is voluntary
- The support provided builds on the woman’s resiliency and strengths
- Initial support is offered at a level that the woman is comfortable with
- Advocates enable the woman to access a range of existing services (e.g. mental health support, sexual health services, and so on).
- Advocates collaborate with existing services to provide effective support.
- Advocates deliver specialist safety planning and risk management
- The support provided for the woman is flexible and creative. Advocates are willing to do what they need to do to engage the woman.
- Advocates work in the community, meeting women at a location of their choice.
- Advocates have small caseloads, allowing them to provide intensive support for women.