5. GENDER EQUALITY

Sununu signs bill giving tenant rights to domestic violence victims, part of national trend • New Hampshire Bulletin

Sununu signs bill giving tenant rights to domestic violence victims, part of national trend • New Hampshire Bulletin
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Sununu signs bill giving tenant rights to domestic violence victims, part of national trend • New Hampshire Bulletin  New Hampshire Bulletin

Sununu signs bill giving tenant rights to domestic violence victims, part of national trend • New Hampshire Bulletin

Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence Can Break Their Lease Early in Some States

New Hampshire state Rep. Ellen Read remembers how trapped she felt as an 18-year-old in her native Tennessee, enduring the physical and emotional toll of an abusive relationship.

The abuse Read suffered – which included being held captive in an apartment for days and hit by her abuser’s car – lasted years after she left the relationship, while her abuser stalked her.



Rep. Ellen Read

In 2016, Read won election to the New Hampshire House of Representatives. That same year, she recalled to Stateline, her abuser died by suicide after 16 years of prolonged stalking.

Now, a bill authored by Read will allow victims of domestic and sexual violence – including stalking – to break their rental lease agreements early if they provide a police report or are in the process of obtaining documents such as a protective order following an incident.

“My hope is that this increases the boldness of people living in these abusive situations and that they know if they leave, there will be a path forward for them and they won’t be forced to stay with their abuser or at the home they were abused in,” said Read, a Newmarket Democrat. 

Expanding Protections for Survivors

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed that bill, House Bill 261, into law Tuesday. The bill, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2025, also expands protections against discriminatory evictions for domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking victims. 

New Hampshire’s legislation is part of a national trend.

The pandemic lockdown that began in March 2020, coming alongside the nation’s worsening housing crisis, has prompted state lawmakers to help victims of assault who are struggling to move away from their alleged abusers. Domestic violence incidents in the United States increased by 8.1 percent in the months following the imposition of pandemic lockdown orders in 2020, according to a 2021 report released by the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice, a group launched by the Council on Criminal Justice, a think tank.

More than a dozen states have passed measures in the past five years bolstering rental protections for survivors by allowing them to break their leases if they provide evidence of stalking, sexual assault, or an abusive domestic relationship. Many of those laws, which were enacted or strengthened during the pandemic, give victims more leeway in how they can document the abuse.

Many cities and states are looking to help survivors with new housing in other ways, such as by obtaining grants to develop transitional housing or offering housing vouchers to victims.

“It is deeply traumatizing and harmful to force survivors to continue to live in the same home where the harm occurred,” said Kate Walz, associate director of litigation at the National Housing Law Project, an advocacy group that trains legal services organizations. “It can retraumatize and compound the harm over years, if not decades.”

The Post-Separation Journey

When New York City resident Stephanie Woodbine and her adolescent daughter left a two-year abusive relationship in 2017, she wasn’t sure where they were going to live.

Woodbine told Stateline that on top of emotional abuse, she also suffered economic abuse – a form of abuse that New York City last year officially recognized as domestic violence. She found housing, then was evicted after losing her job.

“I really didn’t have a lot of money to pay for housing because the mental trauma made it hard to live a normal life, keep a job,” Woodbine said.

She didn’t qualify for the domestic violence shelters because she wasn’t in an “active domestic violence situation,” she recalled, so she stayed in hotels and lived a life of “hidden homelessness” with her daughter.

​​“There are so many decisions that make leaving any abusive situation hard, but when you leave you find out just how hard it is to survive when you feel your options are limited,” said Woodbine, who eventually received an emergency housing voucher and has secured permanent housing.

“There’s a lot of post-separation abuse that is also contributing to survivors’ instability and their mental trauma,” added Woodbine, who now sits on the advisory council to the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence. “It’s why we want to expand protections for survivors post-separation, and that includes providing permanent housing.”

Intimate partner violence is a major driver of homelessness, and researchers have found that housing is among the most common needs for survivors. Currently, 10 percent of shelters and transitional housing are targeted to domestic violence victims and their families, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

As the U.S. Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of homeless camping and outdoor sleeping bans, cities that have passed bans argue that outside encampments are dangerous not just for the public, but also for people staying there.

But Walz, of the National Housing Law Project, fears that if these bans are deemed constitutional, they’ll have a major impact on women and children fleeing domestic violence situations.

“Gender-based violence is both the cause and consequence of housing instability. Housing instability increases your risk of it, and housing instability comes as a result of it,” said Walz.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

  1. SDG 5: Gender Equality
    • Target 5.2: Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
    • Indicator: Number of women and girls who have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former intimate partner in the past 12 months.
  2. SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
    • Target 11.1: By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe, and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums.
    • Indicator: Proportion of urban population living in slums, informal settlements, or inadequate housing.

Analysis

The article addresses issues related to domestic and sexual violence, specifically focusing on the challenges faced by survivors in obtaining safe and stable housing. Based on the content of the article, the following SDGs, targets, and indicators can be identified:

1. SDG 5: Gender Equality

This SDG is relevant because it aims to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. The article discusses the experiences of survivors of domestic and sexual violence, highlighting the need for protections and support for these individuals.

Targets:

  • Target 5.2: Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.

Indicators:

  • Number of women and girls who have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former intimate partner in the past 12 months.

2. SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

This SDG is relevant because it focuses on ensuring access to adequate, safe, and affordable housing for all individuals. The article discusses the challenges faced by survivors of domestic and sexual violence in finding housing and the need for housing protections and support.

Targets:

  • Target 11.1: By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe, and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums.

Indicators:

  • Proportion of urban population living in slums, informal settlements, or inadequate housing.

Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 5: Gender Equality Target 5.2: Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation. Number of women and girls who have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former intimate partner in the past 12 months.
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities Target 11.1: By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe, and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums. Proportion of urban population living in slums, informal settlements, or inadequate housing.

Copyright: Dive into this article, curated with care by SDG Investors Inc. Our advanced AI technology searches through vast amounts of data to spotlight how we are all moving forward with the Sustainable Development Goals. While we own the rights to this content, we invite you to share it to help spread knowledge and spark action on the SDGs.

Fuente: newhampshirebulletin.com

 

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