Landlords get tough on domestic abuse

Joyce Watson AM is backing legislation to empower landlords to evict perpetrators of domestic abuse while allowing victims and children to remain in the home.

The Welsh Government’s Renting Homes White Paper includes a proposal to require a ‘prohibited conduct term’ in every tenancy contract. Anyone breaching this term in their agreement – perpetrators of domestic abuse and households that cause misery for their neighbours – could be liable to eviction. In cases of domestic abuse, the victim and children would be able to remain in their home.

Since January, West Wales Women’s Aid has supported 157 women from Ceredigion, giving refuge to 45 women. The organisation also provides on-going support to 89 local children.

In Pembrokeshire, in the past 12 months, charitable Housing Association Hafan Cymru has provided refuge for 36 Women and 35 children, and supported a further 11 Women and 21 children to move on from their refuge.

In Carmarthenshire, last year Carmarthenshire Domestic Abuse Services (CDAS) supported 43 women and 39 children in a refuge, as well as 201 women in the wider community. Hafan Cymru also supported 103 women, 93 children and two men in the county.

“More often than not, we see innocent women and children forced to flee their homes while the perpetrator stays put. This Bill would redress that injustice,” Mrs Watson said.

Speaking in the Senedd last week, theMid and West AM said landlords will need support from the police to enforce sanctions.

Housing minister Carl Sargeant said: “Let me be very clear: I will do everything that I can within my department to ensure that we stop this crime of anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse within the home. It is something that I am hugely committed to. I have a conference that I will be holding on February 13, when we will be bringing the police and the public and private sectors together to see what we can do in terms of training opportunities, to work together to stop this crime."

Anyone experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence, have experienced domestic abuse or sexual violence, or are worried about a friend or relative who is experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence - call the All Wales Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) Helpline free on 0808 80 10 800.

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