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Access to housing essential for those fleeing abusive homes - Ellis

21 November, 2014 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has said that victims of domestic violence who are fleeing a home they have shared with an abusive partner should not be discriminated against when seeking housing. He made his comments as he launched his party's Domestic Violence Amendment Bill in the Dáil.

Deputy Ellis said

"This Bill won’t solve domestic violence, it won’t stop it or fix the big problems we have in dealing with it but it does fix something which needs to be fixed.

“The Bill deals with an anomaly in the current law.

“At present victims of domestic violence who are co-owners of a home in which their abuser resides are barred from seeking social housing as they are deemed to be appropriately housed. This Bill recognises the specific circumstances of  victims of domestic violence and the difficulties they can face when seeking to leave the abusive home they are in.

“Considering a person who co-owns a property in which their abuser resides to have their housing needs met by that property, turns housing need on its head. A home is not a roof or four walls it is a place where you can be safe. 

“This Bill seeks to change this so that a victim, who applies for an order, shall not, by virtue of the victim’s part-ownership in the residence in which the applicant resides or previously resided with the respondent, be prohibited from consideration for social housing by a local authority.

“The Bill does not dictate that a victim must automatically get a social house, but rather states that a victim shall not be discriminated against based on their part-ownership of the property where the domestic violence occurred.  

“This Bill acts as a waiver of sorts, whereby local authorities in assessing a persons need to be considered for social housing, cannot take the part-ownership in another property into account, where the person is a victim of domestic violence and has applied for an court order."

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