The event was held in MD Group’s home city and was attended by over 120 representatives from several maintenance contractors and social housing providers from across the south west and from as far afield as Scotland, Sutton and the Isle of Wight. The new pledge from the Chartered Institute of Housing has been created in partnership with Women’s Aid and the Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance and is aimed at organisations that work closely with the social housing sector.
Jane Nelson, Managing Director of MD Group, commented, “My company works extensively with social housing partners and, as someone who was born and raised in a council house, the Make a Stand campaign forced me to think about what MD Group and I could do to make a stand against domestic abuse.
“It was easy to spark a discussion about this at work. Sadly, many people have had such abuse touch their lives in some way and some quick decisions saw us make some quick changes to meet the three commitments required to sign up the Supporters’ Pledge.
“We have also now added Safe Leave to our Compassionate Leave Policy. This triggers approval for two weeks paid leave for those who are escaping domestic abuse or, for instance, attending related medical or legal appointments. Our I.T. team has added a ‘concern button’ to all the tradespersons’ mobile devices, which enables them to confidentially report a concern of domestic abuse – or any other safeguarding issue - and we have developed a Domestic Abuse Toolkit to train all of our staff on the signs of domestic abuse, what to do and how to report it.”
The event organised by MD Group, Homes in Sedgemoor and the Domestic Abuse South West Steering Group, which is co-chaired by Jane Nelson of MD Group and Jen Barfoot of Homes in Sedgemoor was a great success. Several domestic abuse survivors were invited to share their moving stories and discussions were sparked around what kind of role companies like MD Group can play to work with social housing landlords and to report and help stop domestic abuse.
Jen Barfoot, Chief Executive of Homes in Sedgemoor, added: “MD Group has set the tone for the whole maintenance sector in its approach to addressing domestic abuse – using their fantastic training toolkit, operatives are better prepared to help us identify and support those experiencing domestic abuse in our homes. Their commitment to develop the toolkit and actively share it with competitors does them credit and demonstrates a determination to make a real difference in addressing domestic abuse that goes far beyond the usual business drivers”.
James Strang, President of the Chartered Institute of Housing and a Chief Executive of a Scottish housing association, commended MD Group’s toolkit: “I am so pleased to see MD Group, as a leading maintenance contractor in the social housing field, producing something so practical as this Domestic Abuse Training Toolkit. By making it available to all contractors and DLOs in the sector, they set something in motion that can make a real difference”.
The Make a Stand Supporters Pledge has already had an impact with many other firms following suit and also signing up to it. Creating awareness and training people how to identify and report possible domestic abuse will ensure that companies like MD Group, don’t walk by.
You can get your copy of MD Group’s Domestic Abuse Training Toolkit here: https://www.mdgroup.co.uk/domesticabuseprevention