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Domestic Violence Victims Often Face Eviction

 Posted on July 28, 2016 in Domestic Violence

Naperville domestic violence lawyerPut yourself in the shoes of a domestic violence victim. You have faced abuse and left your relationship, but you are still struggling to deal with your abusive spouse. Your spouse constantly shows up at your house, taunting and terrorizing you and leaving you no choice but to call the police multiple times. One night, your spouse breaks down the door of your home and attacks you. Police and emergency medical personnel are needed to remove your spouse and get you to safety and treatment. You recover, but suddenly get news that you are being evicted from your home. Does this situation sound outrageous? Unfortunately, many domestic violence victims face eviction simply for being victims of abuse. How does this happen? Here is what you need to know about domestic violence and eviction.

Nuisance Laws

According to a recent survey of over 70 social and legal service providers, domestic violence victims account for over 10 percent of all evictions nationwide. How is this happening? One major way that domestic violence victims are punished for the crimes committed against them are nuisance laws. Many communities have passed laws and ordinances that hold property owners responsible for any crime that occurs on the property the own. If enough criminal activity happens on the property and law enforcement is needed multiple times, the property can be labeled a nuisance. Once labeled a nuisance property, the property owner faces fines and may be instructed to evict any renters on the property. While preventing drug trafficking and gang activity is worthwhile, and nuisance ordinances nationwide have helped in that regard, they also unfairly put many domestic violence victims on the street. Despite a tenant being a victim of domestic violence themselves, they are still renting a nuisance property and may face eviction.

Nuisance laws often keep domestic violence victims from seeking help, even when they desperately need it. Many victims suffer silently out of fear of being evicted. “They suffer with the violence, abuse and threats so that they can maintain their housing,” says a national domestic violence advocate. “It is appalling.”

A Brighter Future for Victims?

Fortunately for domestic violence victims, recently proposed legislation aims to protect domestic violence victims nationwide from eviction. Currently, domestic violence and sexual assault victims are not allowed to be evicted if they live in federally subsidized or public housing. Those protections, however, do not extend to renters living in private housing, but the new measure would change that. A nationwide standard would be established protecting all victims of assault and domestic violence from eviction and providing them better access to housing. In addition to their high eviction rate, victims of domestic violence also make up 25 percent of all housing denials in America, meaning that many victims are evicted and forced into homelessness simply for having crimes committed against them. Landlords report denying housing to victims out of fear of continued problems.

“Domestic violence and sexual assault survivors have so many obstacles to overcome,” says the Senator who introduced the bill. “It is unconscionable that women are removed from their homes and face repeated discrimination simply because of the heinous crimes committed against them.” Victim advocates say this new bill is a step in the right direction towards ending housing instability and homelessness for domestic violence victims.

Immediate Help

At Pesce Law Group, P.C., we understand that domestic violence affects many Illinois families, and we have years of experience advocating aggressively for domestic abuse victims and their families. If you or a loved one is in harm’s way, call 630-352-2240 today to speak to a qualified Naperville family law attorney. We can provide immediate protection to prevent further abuse and can explore long-term solutions to keep you and your family safe. Schedule a free, discreet consultation with us to learn more about how we can protect you.


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