§ Baroness Fisher of Rednal
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they are satisfied that local authorities are fulfilling their obligations to battered women, either in providing accommodation themselves or in helping voluntary organisations to maintain their hostels properly.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment (Lord Bellwin)
The Government do not monitor the extent to which individual local authorities or voluntary organisations provide assistance to battered women. It is for the local authorities to make their own assessment of housing and other needs in their areas and take decisions on how to make the best use of the housing resources available to them through the Housing Investment Programme. This includes decisions as to what provision is necessary for refuges for battered women.
Authorities' duties towards those who are homeless are laid down in the Housing (Homeless Persons) Act 1977, and include the securing of accommodation for those in priority need. The definition of a homeless person extends to a woman excluded from her home by the risk of domestic violence. The Code of Guidance, to which local authorities are required to have regard, asks authorities to treat all homeless battered women as being in priority need under the Act.
House adjourned at ten minutes past ten o'clock.