Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit research used in House of Lords debate
Baroness Ruth Lister used research by our Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit (CWASU), about how women escaping domestic violence are loosing their rights to permanent tenancy, in a House of Lords debate on the new Housing Bill.
Hansard, which reports what is said in Parliament, quotes the following:
"A three-year longitudinal study carried out by the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit followed 100 women and their children as they rebuilt their lives after accessing domestic violence services from Solace Women’s Aid. Among its key messages was:
"'Having a home in which women and children can feel and be safe is vital, removing the fear and insecurity which domestic violence creates.'
"Housing insecurity interferes with all the processes that enable them to begin undoing the harms of domestic violence.
"In a Written Answer on this issue, the Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, stated: 'Where existing lifetime tenants transfer, the provisions in the Bill ensure that local authorities retain a discretion to offer the tenant a further lifetime tenancy in their new home.'
"I am afraid that is not sufficient. In the study I have just cited, women report that housing officers are frequently unsympathetic or disbelieving, or seem uninterested in their domestic violence histories. The security of victims of domestic violence cannot be left to the discretion of housing officers who might respond in this way. It needs to be enshrined in the Bill itself."
The government has committed to including this in the guidance that will accompany the legislation.
You can find the full study on the Solace Women's Aid website.