Fair Housing Protections for Survivors of Domestic Violence

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Fair Housing and Domestic Violence Protections

Did you know that domestic violence occurs in households across the U.S., on average, every 15 seconds? Each year, about 10 million people experience domestic violence (DV) – that’s about 20 people every minute.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. First introduced in 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, this month is a time to raise awareness about domestic violence. It is also meant to connect and unify the millions of domestic violence survivors across the country. This newsletter identifies a number of forms of domestic violence a person might experience and outlines protections in housing for DV survivors.

Types of Domestic Violence Abuse 

There are many different types of abuse that are considered domestic violence. These include physical abuse, emotional and verbal abuse, sexual abuse, sexual coercion, reproductive coercion, financial abuse, stalking, and digital abuse. Digital abuse is defined as the use of technology and the internet to bully, harass, stalk, intimidate, or control a partner. It is often a form of verbal or emotional abuse conducted online.

Although it is a lesser-known form of abuse, digital abuse is becoming increasingly more common. It is especially common among teens and young adults who use technology more often – one in four dating teens are harrassed through technology.

Protections for Domestic Violence Survivors


Various laws in Oregon provide protections in housing for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Protections under Landlord Tenant Law include being let out of your lease early, getting your locks changed, and/or the termination of the abuser’s tenancy. Oregon law 90.453 contains specific information about lease termination by a tenant who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. 

Passed in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was the first federal legislation specifically aimed at helping survivors of domestic violence. VAWA protects federally subsidized tenants from being denied housing or from being evicted because they are the survivor of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This includes someone who lives in a public housing project, has a Section 8 voucher, or lives in a rental unit that receives federal housing assistance. VAWA only covers private, market-rate housing if a landlord accepts a Section 8 voucher. Otherwise, these protections do not apply to private landlords. 

The following federal programs are subject to VAWA protections: 

  • Public Housing 

  • Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers 

  • Project-based Section 8 

  • Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly 

  • Section 811 Supportive Housing for People with Disabilities 

  • Rural Development Multifamily programs 

  • Low Income Housing Tax Credit 

  • Housing Trust Fund 

  • Multifamily Rental Housing 

  • Below Market Interest Rate 

  • HOME 

  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS 

  • McKinney-Vento Act Homelessness Programs 

If you or someone you know is experiencing or has experienced domestic violence in the past, there are a number of resources available for you to access the help and support you need. Domestic violence often not only impacts the survivor, but can have negative consequences on an entire household, including the children of survivors.

Below is a list of resources for people experiencing DV, survivors of DV, and their children:


Resources for Domestic Violence Survivors

State of Oregon: Domestic Violence – Domestic Violence Services

Resources To Combat Domestic Violence | Domestic Violence Reduction Unit (D.V.R.U.) | The City of Portland, Oregon (portlandoregon.gov)

Domestic and Sexual Violence Resource Page | Multnomah County (multco.us)

Domestic Violence Programs Near You – Oregon Department of Justice (state.or.us)

Professional Counseling Services – Domestic Violence Resource Center (dvrc-or.org)


CARDV Corvallis | Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence

Children’s Advocacy Center | ABC House | Albany OR

If you are a domestic violence shelter provider, check out this fair housing resource on our website: 

a guide to fair housing for homeless and domestic violence shelter providers (fhco.org)

Report Housing Discrimination





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