Protecting the home
This content applies to England only.
Housing laws vary between England and Scotland. Get advice relating to Scotland
If you decide to remain in your home after a perpetrator of domestic abuse has left, you may want to improve security to make you safer. This section outlines some ways in which you might be able to do this.
There are several measures you can take to make you safer in your home, for example by:
- fitting more secure locks, door chains, and peepholes for the front doors
- reinforcing doors and door frames
- getting window locks, bars, and grills installed
- installing alarms, CCTV and security lighting
- improving fire safety measures
- having a reinforced and lockable safe room in the house, from which the police can be called
- letting neighbours know that the perpetrator no longer lives with you, and asking them to let you know if they see her/him hanging around
- changing telephone numbers and screening calls.
These measures can be used in conjunction with any legal measures to protect you taken to exclude the perpetrator (for example, an Occupation Order or Non-molestation Order). They will only protect you while you are inside your home, though, so you may want to consider other security measures for while you are out (for example, personal alarms, a mobile phone, self-defence classes). They can also be expensive, although you might be able to get help paying for them from the council (see below).
The police can give you further advice on security measures. Make sure your local police station knows that you have been a victim of domestic abuse. You should also give them a copy of any relevant injunction, especially if it has a power of arrest attached, so they are aware that they will need to respond quickly to any call from you.
Getting help from the council
If you go to the council for help because you have experienced domestic violence, they may suggest improving security in your home as an alternative to becoming homeless. Remember it is your choice whether to remain in your home and the council cannot say that you would be making yourself intentionally homeless by leaving. Don't be persuaded to stay if you don't feel safe. You can insist that the council takes a homelessness application.
Council schemes are often called 'sanctuary schemes'.
These should offer:
- advice on excluding the perpetrator from your home
- a risk assessment of remaining in your home
- improvements in the security of your home (eg installing a safe room)
- emergency contacts and ongoing support.