Domestic Violence Victims

An adverse housing decision made because a person is a victim of domestic violence may be illegal. The reason this may be viewed as a discriminatory act is that domestic violence disproportionately affects women.  Based on this reality, some states have statutorily included victims of domestic violence as a protected category. Vermont has not done this; however, in a Vermont case heard in U.S. District Court, the court held that if a woman was evicted because she was a victim of domestic violence, that could constitute unlawful discrimination. This is because of the nexus between the high percentage of domestic violence victims being women and the fact that sex is a protected category. For more information on this issue please go to the Spring 2008 Fair Housing News Letter .