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Housing Domestic Abuse Advocate’s Diary.. Jessie

A day in the life of an Advance Housing Domestic Abuse Advocate.

At 9:00am, since working remotely as a result of Covid restrictions, I start my day with a ‘Good Morning Check-In’ with my colleagues, manager at Advance and the Housing team in the borough I work in. I then go through my emails and messages from women I support, so I can write up my priority list for the day.

I call housing officer J regarding a housing application for a woman we are both supporting to check on its progress.

At 9:30am, I receive a call from M (woman I support) regarding a housing transfer request from the housing association. M was experiencing ongoing harassment from her ex-partner who was aware where she lived. They had previously been in a relationship for many years and shared a child together, there was also a long history of domestic abuse, which included coercive control which he still aimed to maintain. M had permanent accommodation through the housing association, but for her safety, I and the housing association worked in partnership to complete a housing transfer request out of borough which has since been granted.

I then joined a telephone consultation with a Housing Needs Officer regarding a woman who has fled her property out of her borough due to domestic abuse, and we discussed next steps. The Housing officer asked about refuge spaces, however I advised, in this instance, refuge might not be suitable due to her needs and therefore, we worked together to locate temporary accommodation in the surrounding boroughs.

I completed a support letter for O (woman I support) which I followed up with a call to her Housing Officer. O had a property with the Housing association, however her ex-partner was aware she lived in the area. He had been perpetrating controlling behaviour and harassment towards her, and therefore for her safety, we worked together to support her to find a property out of borough which has now been granted. We are currently exploring the best option which allows her to remain close to her existing support networks while remaining safe.

Shortly after, I received a referral from Housing Officer P, which I read through carefully. It is regarding a woman fleeing domestic abuse, who is currently staying at a friend’s house. I informed Housing Officer P, I would be in contact with the woman shortly after.

At about 12:00pm, I contacted the woman to offer support – I completed an initial assessment and DASH risk assessment (a tool practitioners use to identify level of need). We discussed emergency remedies, including civil and criminal remedies and I provided her advice on immediate safety planning and measures. I supported her in completing a homeless application to get help to find a property within borough. I then called Housing officer P back to give feedback regarding risks and support needed around housing. We were able to secure temporary accommodation.

at 1:00pm, it is now time for my lunch which was yummy sweet potatoes and tuna salad!!!

At about 2:45pm, I received a call from N (woman I support) to discuss her housing move. N is a single woman, fleeing from two perpetrators, one of which was gang affiliated. We worked together with the housing officer and found temporary accommodation for her in accordance with her needs; mental health and safety planning. We spoke more recently and she let me know that she is very happy in her new home and new borough.

I then completed a counselling referral for Q (woman I support). After fleeing from domestic abuse, I helped find her accommodation which she has now settled into. When I first met Q, I offered to help her secure domestic abuse counselling as she had never received any, however at the time she was not ready to start this stage of her journey. But after settling into her new home, we spoke again, and she informed me that she had been experiencing flashbacks. We discussed the possibility of starting up counselling to which she informed me she was now ready. She is now receiving domestic abuse counselling from a partner specialist organisation and working through the trauma she experienced.

At around 4:00pm, I called Housing Officer D to discuss a woman we both support and followed up on the progress of her homeless application which has since been granted. She now has temporary accommodation. Next, I needed to call R (woman I support) and we discussed her housing and her wishes around the upcoming MARAC (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference). R was referred onto me internally as she had housing needs. After looking at the initial assessment, I could see that she was experiencing ongoing abuse from an ex-partner including staking and harassment. I, therefore referred her onto a partner specialist stalking and harassment organisation to support her alongside her support with Advance. R and I discussed her wishes around her MARAC meeting and as she had a pending housing transfer request, she asked for a MARAC supporting letter. She also asked for a panic alarm for her safety, as her ex-partner knew which borough she lived in. Her housing transfer request has since been granted.

At 5:15pm, It is time to ‘check out’ from the Whatsapp Group for the day. I head out for a walk around the green and prepare myself for another day tomorrow.