How we can all help to identify and prevent Domestic Abuse

In this interview, Dr. Kelly Henderson CIHCM, founder of ADA shares her thoughts on how collectively, we can all help bring about change and earlier intervention for those at risk from domestic abuse. From changing legislation and sharing best practices to using technology that supports resident-facing teams.

Why this is so important:

1.6 million women (aged 16 to 74) and 757 000 men (aged 16 to 74) reported experiencing some form of domestic abuse in the year ending March 2020 in England and Wales. Regulatory changes around the accountability of housing providers for tackling domestic abuse in their homes are expected, with the Social Housing White Paper (2020) addressing this directly. Meanwhile, the Domestic Abuse Act (2021) introduced the requirement to produce a strategy to illustrate how local areas will meet the accommodation needs of survivors of domestic abuse.

The issue of domestic abuse is, for the first time in many years being dealt with at a legislative level and Dr. Kelly Henderson is at the forefront of ensuring that these regulations are implemented within the housing sector.

Kelly Henderson has devoted her career within the housing sector to improving the identification of and response to domestic abuse. After co-founding a national housing and domestic abuse partnership, Kelly set up Addressing Domestic Abuse (ADA) in 2021. The community interest company works to equip organisations and associated supply chains in the social housing sector to recognise domestic abuse in all its forms so that residents can be assured of a positive response.

ADA’s core aim is to put an end to domestic abuse, believing in a coordinated community approach in order to achieve this: everyone can play a part. Vitally, ADA works to ensure that survivors’ voices influence housing policy and the sector’s response to domestic abuse with their Experts Via Experience (EVE) Panel.

One year on from their beginnings and ADA is thriving – in no small part down to Kelly Henderson’s reputation within the sector for her coordinated approach to tackling domestic abuse and strong research pedigree. Kelly is not alone, however; she has assembled a team of experts from across the housing sector, private sector and the world of academia, demonstrating ADA’s collaborative approach to tackling domestic abuse.

Over the past year, Kelly has worked on a Home Office research project on standards for perpetrator interventions, while ADA has trained organisations across the UK in identifying and responding to domestic abuse.

On 5th October, Kelly Henderson will be bringing her expertise to MRI Ascend EMEA. Discussions will centre on what the sector needs to be doing to support communities and interrogating how organisations can prepare for the incoming regulatory changes from both a strategic and an operational perspective. Kelly will look at policy implementation for recognising and responding to domestic abuse, as well as highlighting expert organisations that can support the sector through these changes.

In order for domestic abuse to be addressed with the coordinated approach that other areas, such as Antisocial Behaviour receives, it must be seen as a core business; central to what housing providers do. With the upcoming changes to regulation, the hope is that this shift begins to be seen across the sector. We very much look forward to hearing more from Dr. Kelly Henderson on the 5th October about what needs to be done in order to ensure that we are responding to domestic abuse together.


Dr. Kelly Henderson


Twitter: AddressingDA


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