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Thursday, 11 January 2018

Peers back Bill bolstering rights of domestic abuse sufferers

Written by Trevor Mason and Nick Lester

Peers have backed a move to give greater protection to women forced out of their homes by domestic abuse.

Legislation requiring local authorities to give victims of domestic abuse with secure lifetime tenancies similar security of tenure when rehousing them was welcomed on both sides of the Lords.

The Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill meets a Conservative manifesto promise given last year and delivers on a commitment made during the passage of earlier housing legislation.

Communities and Local Government minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth said the Bill was part of the Government's wider aim of supporting victims of domestic abuse with greater security and stability.

Introducing second reading debate on the measure, he said it would ensure lifetime tenants who had to flee their homes wouldn't lose security of tenure when being rehoused.

"This is about removing an impediment which could prevent victims from leaving their abusive situation."

Lord Bourne said the Government was also carrying out a review of the commissioning and funding of domestic abuse services, which would conclude in the summer.

Labour's Baroness Lister of Burtersett, backing the Bill, said concerns about housing were a barrier for many women trying to escape domestic abuse.

The Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Rev Rachel Treweek, also backing the Bill, said: "No woman should be forced to choose between the safety of her and her children or maintaining a roof over her head."

The Bill received its second reading and now goes forward for further scrutiny at committee stage.

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