The government has made a number of announcements recently in relation to domestic abuse. Councils are set to receive more funding to support domestic abuse victims. Current housing rules will also be reconsidered. The aim is to give victims greater agency over where they rebuild their lives.
If you have been accused of domestic abuse, our criminal defence solicitors can represent you throughout proceedings. Contact us now for a free, confidential discussion about your case. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Funding for councils
Councils in England are to receive greater funding to support domestic abuse victims. The funding is to be used to provide safe accommodation spaces, along with vital support services. This includes access to healthcare, social workers, immigration advice and addiction support.
Housing rules to be reconsidered
Along with the funding, the government is also reviewing current housing rules. The aim is to make is easier for victims to leave their perpetrators and start afresh, or to remain in their own homes if they prefer. The government is therefore reconsidering the rules on joint tenancies and the local connections test. It is thought these may be preventing victims from choosing where they rebuild their lives.
There is concern that domestic abuse victims may feel trapped if they are in a joint tenancy rental agreement with their perpetrator. The government has launched a consultation on the matter to find out:
- Whether domestic abuse victims feel trapped by joint tenancy agreements
- Whether perpetrators are using their ability to end a joint tenancy to threaten a victim with homelessness
- Whether the current guidance for social landlords is sufficient to support victims in joint tenancies
- Whether the law on transferring joint tenancies is working successfully for victims
Local connections test
The government has also launched a consultation regarding the local connections test. The worry is that victims of domestic abuse are being denied social housing in areas where they have no local connection – even though local councils are required to disregard the test in these circumstances. This means domestic abuse victims are not being given the chance to rebuild their lives in a new area.
The government is reviewing whether the local connections test should be removed or the guidance reviewed. It is also considering the pros and cons of introducing legislation to prevent the local connections test from being applied to domestic abuse victims.
Both consultations close on 10 May 2022.
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