- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Joyce Watson AM is backing legislation that would 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.
“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 on Wednesday (11 December), the Labour Mid and West AM said landlords will need support from the police to enforce sanctions.
In response, 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 an 13 February, in the new year, 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. I welcome and thank the Member for her continued support.
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.
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.
Mrs Watson added:
“Sometimes it is not safe for the woman and her children to remain in the family home, even when the perpetrator is not living there. And, understandably, a women might choose not to live where she has suffered abuse. However, this Bill will give victims more choices and better support, which is crucial.”
If you are 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 – then call the All Wales Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) Helpline for free on 0808 80 10 800.