Creating the right environment - A tool for staff

1. Welfare Steps

Remember as a housing officer no-one expects you to deliver a comprehensive rescue package

Rather, provide an effective early response

Every interaction is an opportunity to create space for action

2. Don'ts

Don't be judgemental

Don't attach the abuser's character, instead talk about behaviours

Don't tell someone they should leave (it may not be safe)

Don't use jargon

Don't use words like 'abuse' or 'violence'

Always work with, not do to the client - explain your concerns, discuss any action you plan to take and why

3. Do's

Always talk to the client alone

Build rapport

Ask open questions


Summarise what's been said to check you understand

Provide information and explain options

Treat people with dignity

4. Ask questions

I can see you're upset, would you like to talk about it?

Are there times you've felt afraid? (if yes) Can you tell me about that?

Can you tell me about the relationship?

Has anyone ever hurt you (if yes) How did they hurt you?

What things might he/she say to you?

Is there someone you can talk to about things?

What would you like to happen next?

5. Offer reassurance

Develop a key message

Thank you for sharing this with me

It is not your fault

I'm here to support you, help is available

I'm concerned about you, (and your children's) safety

No one deserves to be hurt or treated in that way

6. Consider the experiences of the tenant

Has the tenant experienced any of the following? (This is not exhaustive)

If yes to any of these, refer to risk assessment.

  • Put downs
  • Threats to injure or kill
  • Suicide threats
  • Degrading name calling
  • Repeat incidents
  • Forced sexual acts
  • Assault
  • Blamed for perpetrator's behaviour
  • Stalking or harassment
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Denied access to money
  • Being excessively controlled

7. Considerations where children are involved

Where children are involved, if there has been any of the following consider a Duty to Report safeguarding referral.

Threats to take children or call social services

Violence or yelling children may be exposed to

Situations where child has hurt themselves

Child acting out perpetrator's behaviour

8. Immediate concerns

Immediate concerns:

  • Injuries or urgent medical attention needed
  • How the client is feeling
  • Is the client safe? Are children safe?
  • Mental health, alcohol, language, disability issues
  • Is client pregnant?
  • What is the perpetrator capable of? Is there history of abuse?
  • Are there repeat incidents? Is abuse escalating?
  • Is there additional vulnerability?

9. Disclosure

Actions following disclosure:

  • Respond to any immediate concerns
  • Provide information & options - signpost to relevant services
  • Outline ways you as a landlord can help them
  • Refer for risk assessment
  • Discuss any safeguarding concerns with the tenant
  • Discuss SASH measures, explore target hardening
  • Share/discuss information with relevant staff/agencies
  • Complete relevant referrals
  • Record the facts, use tenants own words where possible