The City of London has introduced a new policy aimed at protecting residents living in its housing from facing homelessness when they flee abuse.
The new policy sets out to ensure victims living in its housing stock don’t fear they will lose their tenancy security due to having to flee violence or abuse.
The City of London holds a small residential population, including social housing, in the Square Mile key financial district, and also owns housing estates in other boroughs.
Housing management and almshouses subcommittee members agreed to adopt the policy on 24 September.
The Corporation already operates a ‘sanctuary’ home security scheme in partnership with City Police, aimed at reducing repeat victimisation and homelessness by offering home security improvements – such as changing locks.
The new policy includes a mandate that a victim of domestic violence must be seen by the City’s housing staff on the same day of the incident if they wish, and they can request it be held in a safe place and with advocates present.
The Corporation isn’t able to decide who gets to stay in a property in a joint tenancy case as the people involved must use the courts, the policy says.
However, it adds the Corporation can help them get legal advice to transfer the property to their name only, and can support for actions like taking out a restraining order.
If the victim flees, the policy says the Corporation can also take action to repossess the property from the perpetrator, or apply for an injunction to bar them from the home or entire housing estate.
The policy also sets out steps for securing emergency and permanent accommodation in other boroughs outside the City, if the tenant or lessee needs to leave the property.
The Corporation pledged to maintain victim confidentiality, but its policy stressed it must refer any domestic violence case where children or vulnerable adults are in the household to social services.
Domestic violence is defined in the report as physical violence, sexual, financial, emotional or psychological abuse, coercive or controlling behaviour, honour-based violence and abuse, female genital mutilation, or forced marriage.
The Corporation also added stalking behaviour to the list at the suggestion of a member of the public who had commented on the consultation.