Public Law

No victim of domestic abuse should be made homeless was the over-riding message at the launch of Domestic abuse: a good practice guide for social landlords on 26 August 2019.

In 2018, the Chartered Institute of Housing (“CIH”) launched their Make a Stand campaign, a call for social housing providers to eradicate domestic abuse within the sector. Since the launch, 54 housing associations and 12 local authorities in Scotland have signed up to the campaign.

On Monday, CIH together with ALACHO, SFHA, Shelter and Women’s Aid released their guidance for social landlords to assist in the campaign to end gender–based violence in social housing. The guidance provides a suggested domestic abuse policy to be implemented by all social landlords across Scotland. Together with providing appropriate support to victims of domestic abuse, the policy will also ensure that social landlords meet the standards of the Scottish Social Housing Charter, in particular regarding equalities and human rights, together with compliance of the Equally Safe strategy, produced by the Scottish Government and COSLA.

The guidance suggests removal of the perpetrator rather than the victim. Historically many victims of domestic abuse have presented themselves as homeless. This doesn’t solve the problem, some victims wish to remain in their own home. The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Aileen Campbell, confirmed that there will be a taskforce commissioned to review the current legislation for social landlords and ascertain whether there requires a change in legislation to provide further assistance to remove the perpetrators of domestic abuse. In the meantime, she urged social housing providers to adopt a domestic abuse policy, provide staff with appropriate training and utilise the current legislation in place.

Advice and Support

Our Housing Management team represent a number of local authorities and housing associations throughout Scotland and are uniquely placed to assist social landlords in drafting and implementing an effective domestic abuse policy. We can assist your staff with detailed advice on how to utilise the current legislation and provide relevant training to ensure that robust measures are taken against perpetrators of domestic abuse. Please contact Fiona McLeod or Jackie McGuire for further information.

Fiona McLeod

Senior Associate at Brodies LLP
Fiona is a senior associate in Government, Regulation and Competition. Fiona joined Brodies in 2019 and has significant experience of acting for central government, local government and registered social landlords in all aspects of litigation.
Fiona McLeod