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After the Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment (Family Violence) Bill 2018 passed the Lower House in June 2018, $50,000 from the State Government’s Consumer Credit Account is being granted to Tenancy WA to train community workers ahead of the tenancy law changes.
Tenancy WA in conjunction with the Women’s Council will educate tenant advocates, community lawyers and refuge workers about the soon-to-be available legal options to exit a tenancy within 7 days for family violence reasons, or remove a perpetrator from the lease by applying to the courts.
The education program grant agreement involves the delivery of face-to-face workshops, a takeaway resource kit for workers and a train-the-trainer scheme to ensure the training reaches regional and remote Western Australia.
See the Media Statement from Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston.
Kate Davis, Principal Solicitor at Tenancy WA said: “As a community legal centre that has long campaigned for these law amendments and regularly sees tenants needing to escape family and domestic violence, we are delighted to be part of the change.
“We have previously congratulated the State Government for its effort to bring WA from the back of the pack to front runner when it comes to Australian tenancy law protections for those affected by family violence. Now we would add a ‘thank you’ for the financial support to ensure tenant advocates and refuge workers are being educated and can use their learning to help tenants escape abusive relationships and avoid homelessness.”
A tenant and family violence survivor, who does not wish to be named, told Consumer Protection she thinks the education program will make a real difference.
“I left my rental home after my violent ex broke in. I needed to go somewhere that was safe. There was proof of what had happened – I had a Violence Restraining Order against him and the police had been involved. But my landlord didn’t want me to leave the tenancy and wanted money for the rent until a new tenant was found.
“I went to my local community legal centre for help because my landlord is taking me to court. My tenant advocate had done a workshop about these law changes and told me about them. Even though the new rental laws aren’t here soon enough for me, it’s really important for community workers to know about them and then they can help clients in the near future.”
For more information about the proposed tenancy law changes, which may commence in November 2018, see www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/familyviolence