West Yorkshire police chief calls for panic room rule change

Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Mark Burns-Williamson.
Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Mark Burns-Williamson.
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A West Yorkshire police chief claims bedroom tax is having a detrimental impact on domestic violence victims.

Under the criteria, a panic room for domestic violence victims in a safe home is deemed as too much space and could therefore see abuse victims being subjected to reduced housing payments.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, Mark Burns-Williamson, has signed an e-petition urging the Department of Work and Pensions to exempt victims of domestic abuse from the Spare Room Subsidy category if they have had a police assessment or have a safe panic room.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: “Domestic violence can happen to anyone and can have far reaching effects so we need to do all we can to help victims rebuild their lives without fear of becoming homeless.

“I have made five promises to victims and witnesses in my Police and Crime Plan and that includes ensuring they get the right help and support they need, when they need it, in the way they need it from the appropriate agency, including Government departments.

“I agree that vulnerable victims of abuse should not have to rely on local authorities who have Discretionary Housing Payments for their protection.

“Those who have fled their homes to be placed in a safe home with a panic room should not be penalised and put at risk by being forced to move again because an essential safety room is classed as too much space.

“That is why I support this petition and I urge people to sign it.”

Mr Burns-Williamson added: “I have already signed the Survivor’s Charter, which informs survivors of domestic and sexual violence how they should expect to be treated by the criminal justice system and agencies.

“Signing this e-petition reinforces my pledge to do more to protect domestic abuse victims and those affected by such abuse.

“Through commissioning of services I will also help provide the support victims need to feel safe, stay safe and help them recover.”

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