Domestic violence is a widespread problem. In 2017, the Crime Survey for England and Wales found that 1.9 million adults aged 16 to 59 experienced domestic abuse in the last year.
This policy to support domestic violence victims to leave abusive partners contains two promises:
- to ensure lifetime tenancies
- to review funding for refuges
Ensuring that victims of domestic violence are able to secure a new lifetime tenancy removes a barrier to victims leaving violent homes. In December 2017, the government introduced the Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill which was given Royal Assent in May 2018 and became an Act of Parliament. The Act ensures that victims of domestic abuse who have a lifetime tenancy are granted a new lifetime tenancy by their local authorities.
In relation to reviewing funding for refuges, in October 2017, the government launched two consultations on funding for supported housing and put out a policy statement which proposed changes to the funding for refuges. It suggested short-term supported housing, like refuges, would no longer be paid for with victims’ housing benefits, and instead would be funded by local councils. Several MPs and domestic violence charities voiced concerns over the proposed funding changes.
Responding to feedback from the consultations in August 2018, the government decided not to pursue the proposed changes, saying, “We will maintain Housing Benefit for all supported housing…”
As both parts of this policy pledge have been acted on, notwithstanding any debate around whether they do actually support victims as intended, we’re calling this ‘done’.
Dig in to the detail
- Domestic abuse in England and Wales: year ending March 2017 – Office for National Statistics
- Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Act 2018 – Gov.uk
- Funding for Supported Housing Government: Response to Two Consultations – Gov.uk
- SOS: Save Refuges, Save Lives Campaign – Briefing on Supported Housing Reforms – Women’s Aid
- Domestic Violence Refuges: Funding – Hansard