At New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, Shaheen Discusses Her New Legislation to Provide Housing Protections For Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
(Concord, NH) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) visited the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (NHCADSV) today for a roundtable discussion on her recently introduced legislation to provide legal protections to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault who face housing discrimination. The Fair Housing for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Survivors Act of 2016, which has been endorsed by NHCADSV and more than 30 national organizations, would establish a nationwide standard that victims of domestic violence and sexual assault cannot be evicted or otherwise penalized solely for being victims of those crimes. During a discussion with the program’s members, Shaheen highlighted the connection between domestic and sexual violence and homelessness, and the impact this legislation would have for survivors.
“Domestic violence and sexual assault survivors have so many obstacles to overcome – fair access to housing shouldn’t be one of them,” said Senator Shaheen. “We need to continue working to change the culture surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault, and an important part of that effort is recognizing that survivors of violence and assault are victims of crime and deserve protections from discrimination. My legislation will put the law on their side.”
“Accessing safe and affordable housing is one of the greatest barriers that victims of domestic violence face when they are seeking independence from abusers,” said Amanda Grady Sexton, Director of Public Policy at the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. “The Fair Housing for Domestic and Sexual Violence Survivors Act of 2016 will help ensure that victims and their children will not be forced out of their homes as a result of crimes committed against them.”
Senator Shaheen introduced the Fair Housing for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Survivors Act of 2016 in July to build on protections in the Violence Against Women Act and the Fair Housing Act. According to a survey by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, of 76 legal and social service providers who handle evictions and housing denials, more than 10% of all evictions and more than 25% of housing denials involved victims of domestic violence because of the crimes committed against them. Women are frequently the victims of violent acts by an intimate partner. One in four women will experience domestic violence or sexual assault in her lifetime and women residing in low-income neighborhoods are twice as likely to be victims of intimate partner violence. As many as 50% of all homeless women and children are fleeing domestic violence and 92% of homeless women have experienced severe physical or sexual abuse at some point in their lives.
Senator Shaheen has been a leader in the Senate in providing protections and codifying new rights for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. In May, the Senate unanimously passed Shaheen’s Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act as part of the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act.