Domestic Violence: Its everyone’s business
Domestic violence is a serious and prevalent issue that impacts thousands of individuals and families each year in Calgary, Alberta. Over the past several months, domestic violence has been a central topic in Calgary, with homicides and tragic events occurring at an increased rate.
On December 6, 2018, Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. was proud to sponsor and represent the property management community as special guest speakers during the Calgary Residential Rental Association learning session: The Domestic Violence Toolkit for Landlords. During the session we learned that a call is made to police approximately every 25 minutes to reporting a domestic related incident. In 2018, it is anticipated that over 20,000 calls will have been made to police because of domestic violence. HomeFront Calgary (non-profit that works in collaboration with Calgary Police Services and the justice system) created a heat map using clinical data to show that there are “no boundaries” to the issue of domestic violence. Effects are being felt in every quadrant of the city.
HomeFront’s Heat Map clearly shows that domestic violence is happening in the homes in every community in Calgary, Alberta. What happens at home can have a dramatic impact on the safety and productivity in the workplace and in rental properties. As landlords and property managers, we have a tremendous opportunity to support a consistent message of support to our community to help raise awareness and reduce the incidence and severity of domestic violence in rental premises.
There is a range of roles that landlords and property managers can take to reduce isolation and risks:
- Raise awareness about domestic violence and the availability of services
- Be mindful. Ask: “Are you ok?”
- Provide simple and accessible referral information
- Relocate tenants
- Terminate the lease early in compliance with the Safer Spaces Legislation (Visit FAQ’s For Renters for information about terminating your lease agreement early)
- Call the police
- Follow up with tenants and staff
By being aware of this social problem and informed of the signs of domestic abuse, we can help provide an educated response to our residents experiencing violence and refer to them all necessary avenues of support.
In our team workshop held with Sagesse and Calgary Police Services earlier in the Fall of 2018, the property managers at Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. learned that the following are some signs to be mindful of, when interacting with residents and rental properties:
- Repeated late payment of rent
- Change in tenant’s behaviour
- Change in visits to the office
- Expressions of fear
- Noise complaints
- Concerns expressed by other tenants
- Broken locks or doors
- Holes in walls, broken windows and damage to property
Recognize the signs. We all have a role and a responsibility to held address this issue that doesn’t stop at home. When domestic violence takes place in rental homes, apartments – it impacts our co-workers, residents and tenants. We can educate and inform to raise awareness amongst ourselves to aid in identifying risks and how to best handle resident and/or co-worker disclosures of domestic violence.
The Domestic Violence Toolkit for Landlords was designed for landlords, managers and related service providers with access to residential rental units. It includes:
- Information on how to help prevent domestic violence
- A list of services tenants can call for help
- A list of agencies to contact for more information about domestic violence
- A list of resources that will help you learn more about domestic violence.
Domestic violence can affect anyone. It does not discriminate by age, gender, socio-economic status, ethnicity, or ability. Anyone can be a perpetrator of domestic violence, and anyone an be a victim. As landlords we have a great opportunity to support change by being a caring corporation and ensuring safe homes for residents and team members.
Now more than ever, we need to recognize that domestic violence is an issue that impacts all of us, and it’s going to take everyone working in collaboration. We can start by raising awareness and putting into practice the advice shared by the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta: if you see visible warning signs and risk factors, name your concern and take appropriate action to make a referral or ask for resources from partners like Sagesse or contacting a domestic violence call line.
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