Women’s Aid responds to the government’s green paper on social housing
Tuesday 14th August 2018
Today, the government announced that it will not be going ahead with phasing out lifetime tenancies in social housing as part of its green paper on social housing. Read the government’s Social housing green paper: a ‘new deal’ for social housing online here.
Sian Hawkins, Head of Campaigns and Public Affairs at Women’s Aid, said:
“Women and children escaping domestic abuse can struggle to keep a roof over their heads. The risk of losing a secure tenancy can be a major barrier to fleeing an abusive home.
“We welcome the government’s announcement that legislation to phase out lifetime tenancies will not be going ahead. Following our campaigning, the government brought forward legislation to protect domestic abuse victims from losing their lifetime tenancy if forced to flee their homes. Today’s announcement means this legislation will no longer go ahead and local authorities will be able to continue to offer secure tenancies ‘at their discretion’. The reality is that survivors lose out when the protections they are entitled to are left to discretion. Survivors have well-founded fears that they will lose their secure tenancy if they escape abuse; a 2016 report by Solace Women’s Aid found that in their sample of women who were supported by their refuge service, 22% had a secure tenancy on arrival while only 13% had a secure tenancy on departure.
“We are calling on the government to urgently bring forward their promised legislation to protect lifetime tenancies for survivors of domestic abuse; the Domestic Abuse Bill provides an opportunity to do so without delay. Only then can we be sure that women with secure tenancies are not faced with additional barriers to rebuilding a life free from abuse. While we wait for this legislation, the government needs to make it clear that all local authorities must ensure that survivors retain their lifetime tenancies after fleeing domestic abuse. Discretion when it comes to decisions about protecting survivors will only put more domestic abuse victims at risk.”
If you are worried about your relationship or that of a friend or family member, you can contact the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, on 0808 2000 247 or visit www.womensaid.org.uk.
For more information, please contact the Women’s Aid press office: 020 7566 2511 / [email protected]