Re-housed victims of domestic violence face eviction due to bedroom tax
Women’s Aid says that local authorities must exempt victims of domestic violence from the under-occupancy charge.
The introduction of bedroom tax is having a dangerous impact on women who have experienced domestic violence and there are calls for the council to take actions.
Charity, Women’s Aid, have been made aware of cases where women’s housing benefit have been reduced or they have had to leave the only place where they can be safe as a safe room was regarded as a spare one.
Women’s Aid are working with a woman named Julia, who lives with her 10-year-old son in a three bedroom house that has been specially adapted to enable them to live safely in light of the risk posed by Julia’s abuser who had threatened to kill both of them, reports Polly Neate, chief executive of Women’s Aid in an article for the Guardian.
In their home is a sanctuary system which includes reinforced doors and windows, alarms and a room where Julia can go to safely with a hotline direct to the local police. Under the bedroom tax rules Julia is only entitled to receive housing benefit for a two-bedroomed house for herself and her son. This means that Julia has to either pay the extra rent and go without necessities such as food or move to a smaller property. However there are few two-bedroomed properties and little with have the safety features need for Julia and her son.
A recent survey by St Mungo’s suggested 39% of women who sleep rough were made homeless by domestic violence.
Swindon Women’s Aid has successfully obtained cross-party support in Swindon borough council to exempt all sanctuary scheme properties in Swindon from the bedroom tax.
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