‘Legislative measures needed’ to protect victims of domestic abuse

CIH Scotland have called for social landlords to “do more” within the existing policy framework.

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CIH Scotland have called for legislative measures to improve housing outcomes for women and children experiencing domestic abuse.

Responding to a Scottish Government parliamentary petition on domestic abuse, CIH state that one of the main challenges facing social landlords is how to manage situations where both a victim and perpetrator of domestic abuse are named on the tenancy agreement.

They note that it is currently not possible to end a joint tenancy without making both the victim and the perpetrator homeless.

In turn, they recommend the committee considers what legislative steps are needed to fairly end joint tenancies as per the recommendation from the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group in 2018.

As reported by 24housing, new guidance launched in Scotland aimed to help landlords offer a more consistent and safe approach to the issue of domestic violence.

Scottish Women’s Aid partnered with the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers, the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, and Shelter Scotland to deliver the guide – made available to every social landlord and every local authority in Scotland.

CIH Scotland note that there is more that social landlords could do within the existing policy framework and asks the committee to explore how existing housing management practice could be enhanced by social landlords to improve protections for victims of domestic abuse.

CIH Scotland Director Callum Chomczuk said: “Victims of abuse need housing like we all do, and the sector has a responsibility to do the right thing, but landlords need support to make sure that they’re offering a consistently good response to those affected by domestic abuse.

“Otherwise the consequence is that victims are often asked to leave their home time and again and at times, are made homeless by the very services that are meant to support them.

“It is encouraging that a recent Scottish Government report called for “clear policies on domestic abuse and ensuring that experience of abuse or violence does not lead to someone losing their tenancy”.

“We need to ensure that policy reflects the reality for victims and allows social landlords to end a joint tenancy without making victims homeless.”

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