Greens welcome tenancy law changes to support victims of domestic violence

Greens spokesperson for the Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Hon Alison Xamon MLC has today welcomed the passage of amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act and the Residential Parks (Long-stay Tenants) Act which aim to reduce barriers to victims of domestic violence seeking safe accommodation.

“These important amendments enable a domestic violence victim to change locks and to implement security measures without first seeking approval, and to leave a tenancy without facing the prospect of having to pay compensation to the lessor,” said Ms Xamon.

“They also remove the risk of a domestic violence victim being listed on tenancy databases as an unsuitable tenant which would affect their ability to find accommodation in the future.”

Ms Xamon said, with housing uncertainty often a key factor in a person’s decision to leave an abusive relationship, and domestic violence one of the leading causes of homelessness in Australia, these amendments were an important step towards ensuring the safety of domestic violence victims.

Ms Xamon said she was pleased that the tenancy law changes were broadly supported but more work was needed to address ongoing gaps in domestic violence services, including legal support for victims, services in regional and remote areas, specialist services for Aboriginal women and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and crisis accommodation services.

Ms Xamon also called on the Government to address the disproportionate number of Aboriginal women in Western Australian prisons who were domestic violence survivors.

“WA has the second-highest rate in Australia of reported physical and sexual violence perpetrated against women, second only to the Northern Territory. This is a horrific statistic,” said Ms Xamon.

“Domestic violence is preventable and it is abundantly clear that there is still much to do to better support victims and to significantly reduce its appalling incidence in our community.”