Domestic Abuse Policy

RBK has recently revised its domestic abuse policy, to tell survivors of domestic abuse what they can expect from the Council. The full policy can be read by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page, please note there are further resources in the full policy. 


Kingston Council’s  Housing Service recognises the serious nature of domestic abuse and that as a direct provider of services it has an integral role to play in reducing its incidence and supporting survivors of domestic violence.

The policy sets out the services that Kingston Council's housing teams can offer to  domestic abuse survivors. It has been developed in line with relevant legislation and through partnership working with statutory and voluntary & community sector agencies represented on Kingston Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention (DSVP) Partnership. 


This policy applies to all clients and residents who access any part of the Housing Service.
The policy covers the provision of housing (including advice and support and tenancy/leasehold matters as they relate to domestic abuse) and partnership working with agencies concerned with domestic abuse issues.

This policy should be read in conjunction with The Mayors Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy 2022-2025

Definition of Domestic Abuse

Domestic violence and abuse is not simply physical violence. When working with victims of domestic abuse local authorities must take account of the cross-government definition of domestic violence and abuse. 

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 defines domestic violence and abuse as any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality (see section 63(1) of the Family Law Act 1996 for description. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

  • physical abuse.
  • sexual abuse.
  • financial abuse.
  • coercive and controlling behaviour, and gaslighting/emotional abuse.
  • digital/online abuse.
  • So called 'honour'-based abuse.
  • forced marriage.
  • female genital mutilation (FGM).

This definition includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that victims are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.

We use terminology used in the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 and Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA). This means that although the term Domestic Violence is still used in certain documentation and services, we have chosen to use the term Domestic Abuse to cover all the different types of abuse and given in the definition above. 

We also refer to victims/survivors and their children to recognise that  adults or children (aged under 18) who are also domestic abuse victims/survivors due to experiencing the effects of the abuse

The law

The Housing Act 1996 sets out those duties a housing authority owes vulnerable victims of domestic abuse and other violence.

Section 177(1) provides that it is not reasonable for a person to continue to occupy accommodation if it is probable that this will lead to domestic violence or other violence against:

  • the applicant;
  • a person who normally resides as a member of the applicant’s family; or
  • any other person who might reasonably be expected to reside with the applicant.

Our Approach:

  • RBK Housing Services will adopt a survivor-centred approach in dealing with domestic abuse.
  • This means that if a person feels they are experiencing domestic abuse, they can expect to be treated in a non-judgmental manner and in confidence.
  • Survivors will not be required to take legal action or to contact the police before assistance is provided. 
  • All actions undertaken will be done with the survivor’s consent. The exception is where we consider a child or adult is at risk in any situation or if there is a high risk of serious harm to anyone involved as RBK must always have regards to its other statutory duties.
  • High levels of confidentiality will be adhered to. Any information given by a survivor to housing staff will remain confidential and will only be given to other agencies with the express permission of the client unless there is a statutory duty to do so.
  • We recognise that victims / survivors of domestic abuse are not to blame for the abuse they suffer.
  • All our staff will attend domestic abuse awareness training to ensure that they are conversant with the issues around domestic abuse and are equipped to carry out their duties with tact and diligence.
  • We will make referrals to specialist agencies to assist customers with support and advice.
  • Customers experiencing domestic abuse will be offered a private interview and removed from our public waiting area if they so desire.

How to report Domestic Abuse 

  • Domestic Abuse is a crime and residents can get help from, the Kingston Domestic Violence Hub on 0208 547 6046 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5.30pm) or The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is open 24 hours (including weekends) to offer advice - 0808 2000 247. In an emergency, always dial 999.  

Housing rights

Domestic Abuse survivors have a right to apply as homeless to any council if they do not feel safe in their homes.(Section 189 of the Housing Act 1996 (amended by Pt. 7, s.78 Domestic Abuse Act 2021))   They can contact the Housing Solutions Team.  duty team Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm Telephone: 020 8547 5003 Out of Hours: 020 8770 5000

Existing tenants of the council should speak to their housing officer or Kingston Council housing team about what the Council can do to assist in making sure they are safe.

  • This may include helping facilitate a management transfer 
  • Advising on making a homeless application
  • Enhance the security of property locks, doors, windows etc. 

Enhanced security can only be considered if all three of the following apply:

  • The perpetrator does not live in the accommodation
  • It is safe for the victim to remain living there
  • It is the victim’s choice to stay   

We will never advise someone to give up their accommodation until they have obtained independent legal advice.

In respect of RBK tenancies, the Council has powers to take tenancy enforcement actions which it will consider having regards to the circumstances prevalent at the time.

Multi-Agency Work

Domestic violence occurs across the social spectrum without distinction and staff in statutory and voluntary & community sector agencies will encounter it at some point. No one agency can meet all the needs of those who experience domestic abuse, although all agencies are required to work together in a coordinated manner.

The housing department is committed to working with these agencies to reduce domestic abuse and find a commonly agreed strategy to improve safety for survivors of domestic abuse and to hold abusers accountable for their behaviour. 

Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVA) 

The Kingston DV Hub Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVA) are able to complete a risk assessment, create a risk management plan (eg Discuss housing options, criminal and civil legal remedies, safe child contact, extensive safety planning) and signpost to other agencies for support (counselling, benefits advice, solicitor advice etc.). The IDVAs are also able to forward referrals to other local domestic abuse services that may be more relevant. 

The Kingston DV Hub also includes the Early Intervention Worker who provides support to young girls aged between 13 - 17 who are at risk of gender based violence.

Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC)

MARAC brings together representatives from a number of different agencies who make a plan to increase the safety, health and wellbeing of people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.

MARAC is a way of sharing information so that all agencies involved can get a clearer picture of situations referred to them and can better understand the needs of people experiencing domestic abuse.

Safeguarding vulnerable adults from abuse and neglect 

Safeguarding duties apply to adults who:  

  • Have needs for care and support (whether or not they are receiving any services); and  
  • Are experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect; and  
  • As a result of those care and support needs are unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect 

If a safeguarding concern is identified by a member of staff, they will follow the Council’s Safeguarding Policy to make a referral to Adult Social Services, or the Police in an emergency, to protect the adult from harm

Safeguarding Children 

When a child is involved, we will make the relevant referrals to our Children and Family department via the Single Point of Access 

What constitutes a household?

An applicant’s household includes any member of the family who normally resides with the applicant or who might reasonably be expected to reside with him or her. 

Persons who normally reside should be established members of the household and will include those with close blood or marital relationships and cohabiting partners.

Kingston Council Tenants, Emergency Management Transfer

Emergency management transfer is only suitable when it is safe for the survivor to continue to live within the borough. 

If agreed, the tenant will be placed in the appropriate band on the housing register. The tenant may bid for any property which is of a similar size and type to their home. They can also bid for a smaller property if their needs have changed since they were first accommodated, so long as this does not lead to overcrowding.

A direct offer may be made if it is considered appropriate, in accordance with RBK policy

Survivors who are social housing tenants may wish to be considered for a move under the Pan London reciprocal agreement available to households subject to Domestic Violence.

Unsafe to return to current accommodation

Where an officer establishes that it is unsafe for a survivor or anyone who lives or is expected to live with them they should explore the following with the survivor:

  • Is there anywhere else the survivor can reside (even if temporarily) while a long term housing option is sought?
  • Is an emergency placement in a refuge suitable?

Officers must not give any legal advice or guidance on surrendering tenancies or property ownership matters. Survivors should be advised to seek Independent legal advice on such matters. Free legal advice is available at the Kingston Domestic Violence One Stop Shop.or through the DV Hub.

Joint Tenancies and Occupiers of RBK Properties 

Survivors are responsible for rent on their Council home as long as a tenancy still remains in place whether they live in it or not.

If a survivor chooses to surrender their tenancy, this may have implications for any joint tenant or occupier of the accommodation who is not being rehoused along with them, particularly if they are the perpetrator. 

Survivors should seek independent legal advice before surrendering a tenancy.

Owner Occupiers should be advised to seek independent legal advice. Free legal advice is available at the Kingston Domestic Violence One Stop Shop.


Our Housing Solutions Team within Community Housing deals with those who have, or are likely to become homeless because of Domestic Abuse.  

If the survivor becomes homeless because of domestic abuse they cannot be treated as intentionally homeless. It is recognised they are homeless through no fault of their own and will automatically be identified as having a priority need for safe housing as set out in Section 189 of the Housing Act 1996 (amended by Pt. 7, s.78 Domestic Abuse Act 2021). 

The resulting accommodation may be temporary, until it is safe for them to return. In other cases, if there is no chance of a safe return, we will support a move to alternative accommodation without an intention of them returning to their previous address. 

Based on the individual’s needs, this accommodation may need to be outside of the Borough. We will support survivors and their children through the process. 


There is detailed information about benefits on the Shelter website for people experiencing domestic abuse.

View full details on the Domestic Abuse policy.

Last Modified: 24/11/2023 12:19:24