Brigham Young University Prelaw Review


Domestic violence, domestic violence victims, domestic abuse, nuisance ordinances, nuisance laws, Fourteenth Amendment, First Amendment, discrimination, VAWA, Violence Against Women Act, FHA, Fair Housing Act, African American Women, Black Women, Rental Agreements, Vulnerable Populations


Recent conversations about racial biases that exist towards the black community have required many of us to rethink systems and laws that unconsciously perpetuate racial discrimination. This article uses state, federal, and local lawsuits to argue the case against nuisance ordinances and the negative effects they can have on victims of domestic abuse, namely black women. We dive into the histories and statistics of domestic violence and nuisance ordinances. We provide evidence that indicates a correlation between domestic violence victim’s fear of reaching out for help, and nuisance ordinances being in place. Finally, we urge the federal government to amend the Violence Against Women Act to include two clauses: one that requires police reporting when signs of domestic violence are present and another that requires officers and landlords to receive training on signs of domestic violence, and ways in which they can provide help to these victims instead of harm. Included in the latter clause should be a requirement for police officers to learn about racial biases, and explore their own biases that exist. This will provide more equitable treatment towards victims of domestic violence, and help towards our nation’s effort to qualify racial biases.