There has been an increase in attention to family and domestic violence and recognition of the critical role Local Governments play in the culture and attitudes of their community through the services and initiatives they run at a local level. Since March 2018, WALGA has been requested to represent the Local Government sector on a variety of family and domestic violence topics. This has included Local, State and Commonwealth Government legislative reviews, parliamentary inquiries and the development of resources.

WALGA supports the  Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment (Family Violence) Act 2019 introduced in February 2019  which makes it easier for victims of  family and domestic violence to escape their situation without penalty. The changes in legislation are essential for keeping people experiencing family and domestic violence safe and include:
  • Being able to terminate a tenancy agreement within seven days by providing the landlord with evidence of domestic violence, such as a restraining order or a letter from a medical professional, removing the need to go to Court;
  • Being able to stay in the home if they choose - they will be able to apply to the Court to have the perpetrator's name removed from the tenancy agreement;
  • Being able to change the locks immediately, without permission from their landlord;
  • Being able to install CCTV security at their rental home, at their own cost; and
  • Provisions to deal with property damage, unpaid rent and disbursement of the bond to ensure the victim does not carry the financial burden after a tenancy ends.
WALGA continues to advocate to the State and Federal Government to consider appropriate resources required to support a localised and coordinated response to family and domestic violence. 

WALGA has previously held a webinar for Local Governments in February 2019 and the webinar slides are available here.