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Philomena Azu is the Housing Domestic Violence and Abuse Specialist at Islington Council Tenancy Services and has been in her role since March 2019. She lives near Heathrow with her family and has learnt to plant and garden during lockdown with her 9-year-old diva daughter Savannah.

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06:45 – Savannah comes bouncing into my room looking like she has been up for ages asking what’s happening today mum!

07:15 – Showered and dressed in a flowing sun dress that was purchased for my planned vacation to St Lucia that was cancelled due to COVID.

07:45 – Diva daughter has her herbal tea served and I log on to work to check emails.

08:45 – Breakfast is served, Savannah loves a soft-boiled egg with toast and I adore my nutty granola from Lidl.

09:00 – Catch up with my Housing DVA Specialist Project Worker Siobhan. Siobhan has recently completed 15 months working with Keel Project. The Keel Project was pilot that supported families experiencing domestic violence and abuse but sadly ended in March 2020.

10:30 – MARAC case list arrives via email – as the MARAC SPOC (single point of contact) I have responsibility for researching cases that may be known to housing and report on our intervention/provide actions to support the victims who are known to us.

11:30 – Catch up call with Julia our Learning & Development Lead. We are reviewing our DVA Training for all housing staff and been looking at providing specialist training/awareness around perpetrator management and elder abuse.

12:00 – Meeting with the 3 specialists in my Team for ASB/complex needs/older people. We meet fortnightly to discuss operational/strategic issues as we are a fairly new team. I update the specialists on the case closure checklist I have developed to assist in ensuring we have a robust approach for cases that are stepped down or moved to other housing providers

13:00 – Lunchtime – salad with avocado, pomegranate, and grilled halloumi – my fav. Nothing for the Diva Daughter whose gone out with a friend for the day – Hip Hip Hooray.

13:45 – Work on agenda for the DVA Specialist Surgery I am about to launch. This will be for the Intensive Team and Targeted Staff Team and involves a forum which will include our Housing Needs Lead and our DVA Specialist Project Worker. The DVA Specialist Surgery will feature guest speakers who the team can put forward in order to gain an understanding of their roles, such as Income Recovery, Temporary Allocations and Front of House.

14:45 – Meeting with Pause Practice Lead – Safeguarding and Family Support. Pause work with women whose children who have been removed from their care. Women on the Pause programme have one caseworker over the 18-month period, which means they build a strong relationship with the person supporting them. Housing is one of the common features affecting women who have complex needs and my focus is to attend their team meeting and forge strong links with this service.

15:45 – Spend the rest of the day working on triage staff guidance for customer services, along with questions and solutions for tenants who may call office requesting help in relation to DVA, as we know it’s not always clear the first time.

18:30 – The Diva has arrived home full of energy!! Together we make her favourite meal, homemade burgers and chips with salad 😊

21:00 – I watch the latest series of Ozark on Netflix with my amazing 24-year old son – we do love a binge watch sometimes!!

23:00 – I’m so ready for my bed and so happy that Diva Daughter has remained sleeping in her room during lockdown – it’s been a task but we got there in the end 😊

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