Gentoo joins innovative project to help Government tackle economic abuse

A Sunderland-based housing provider is working with partner organisations to help the Government tackle economic abuse.

Gentoo has teamed up with the National Skills Academy for Financial Services (NSAFS) and charity Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA) to provide training to agencies and their frontline staff to help them spot the signs and deal with the issue.

“In the last five years, Gentoo has supported over 6,500 customers to manage their finances so we fully understand the important role housing providers can play in helping tenants experiencing economic abuse,” said Kelly Henderson, business manager domestic abuse at Gentoo, who is also the co-founder of Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA).

“We are pleased to play a role in this innovative project and hope that, by engaging housing providers further in recognising the signs of economic abuse, we can make a real difference to victims and survivors.”

The three organisations have welcomed publication earlier this month of the Government’s landmark draft Domestic Abuse Bill, which recognises that economic control, exploitation and sabotage can be a part domestic abuse.

The Bill creates a statutory definition of domestic abuse and introduces a wide range of additional measures covering protection and support for victims, support for children, improving the law enforcement response, and tackling economic abuse.

A key paragraph in these additional measures states the Government will: “[P]rovide £200,000 of funding to the National Skills Academy for Financial Services to develop and deliver financial capability training for frontline workers to support individuals who are experiencing economic abuse”.

Peter Pledger, chief executive of NSAFS, said: “We are delighted to be able to play a significant role in helping realise the ambition of this crucial piece of legislation, working with our partners to bring training to front-line practitioners so they understand the realities of economic abuse and gain the skills and knowledge to provide much-needed help and support to victims in a safe and appropriate way.”

The training, which will be aimed primarily at charities and not-for-profit organisations, is being delivered in partnership with Gentoo and SEA. Both organisations are acting as consultants and champions for the new training programme, assisting in determining course content and engaging organisations and front-line workers to attend the courses.

“Naming this form of abuse within statute will undoubtedly help bring economic abuse out of the shadows and will transform responses, ensuring that victim-survivors are able to access the support they so desperately need,” said Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, director of SEA.

NSAFS already runs a range of courses designed to help people to manage their money more effectively; such courses have included youth workers mentoring young people and those advising housing association tenants coping with rent arrears and those experiencing difficulties with Universal Credit.

The organisation has also supplied written evidence to Treasury select committee inquiries into women in finance and household finances.


Main Image: Sara Mohideen from NSAES and Kelly Henderson from Gentoo lead the first training session

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