I received a letter from the Minister of State for Housing and Planning recently, which informed me that the Government has introduced the Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill to the House of Lords.
This is a really important Bill, which will require local authorities in England, when re-housing an existing lifetime tenant who has or needs to move out of their social home to escape domestic violence, to grant them a lifetime tenancy in their new home.
I am a big supporter of this Bill, as it will provide security to those who are in vulnerable situations who need the reassurance of a long term tenancy. This change in legislation delivers on the Conservative manifesto promise to reform the services offered to those fleeing violence from their partner.
I have been working hard locally to raise awareness of domestic abuse issues following the tragic and untimely passing of Kerri McAuley at the hands of her partner, so to receive news of steps the Government is taking is welcome.
Under current arrangements, secure tenancies are offered with a fixed term. This Bill changes that and ensures that lifetime tenancies can be offered to those who are fleeing an abusive environment.
The Minister also informed me that a review is being carried out of the commissioning and funding of domestic abuse services, which will conclude in the summer of 2018. I will of course report back to you when the review’s findings are known.
Finally, the Minister also mentions the Prime Minister has announced plans for a major new programme of work leading towards bringing forward a Domestic Violence and Abuse Act. I will continue my campaigning to keep domestic abuse on the agenda. There is no excuse for those who commit violent acts against their partners and this government will do everything it can to protect those who need its help.