If you have to leave your home because of domestic abuse, there may be a safe place you can go to.
Cover your tracks
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence includes any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse. The abuse can be psychological, physical, social, financial, or emotional.
Domestic violence can happen between two people who are or were intimate partners or family members, regardless of their gender or sexuality.
Get help now
Contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 if you're a woman experiencing domestic abuse. You can talk confidentially to someone about your situation and to find out what your options are.
If you are a man experiencing domestic abuse you can contact the Men's Advice Line on 0808 801 0327.
If you are in a same-sex relationship you can call the National LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline on 0800 999 5428.
Call the police on 999 if:
- your personal safety is threatened
- you are at risk of assault or injury
- in an emergency
Leaving home immediately
Make a safety plan in case you have to leave home in a hurry because you're at risk of violence.
Try to arrange temporary housing from the council before you leave. Not everyone leaving home due to violence is entitled to emergency accommodation.
You could stay with friends or relatives while you think about what to do next.
If you're a woman leaving domestic violence, try to find a place in a women's refuge.
Take some essentials with you such as a change of clothes, toiletries and any medication you need to take regularly. Try to bring important items such as your passport, bank and credit cards and mobile phone.
Don't make a decision to give up your home permanently until you have spoken to an adviser and considered all your options.
Use Shelter's directory to find a Shelter advice centre or Citizens Advice in your area.
Get homelessness help from the council
You can apply to the council housing department as a homeless person if you can't stay in your home.
The council has to give you advice about finding somewhere to live. Some people are entitled to emergency accommodation.
If the council has a duty to find you somewhere to live you will be asked to provide details of your situation. You may be asked for supporting evidence, which could include details and dates of incidents. You can take a friend or an adviser with you for support.
Get advice immediately if the council says it won't help you because it believes it was reasonable for you to stay in your home. You could challenge its decision.
Contact Civil Legal Advice on 0345 345 4 345 if you are entitled to legal aid.
Use Shelter's directory to find an adviser in your area.
Help from social services
Some people may be entitled to help from the council's social services department.
Social services might be able to help if you:
- are elderly
- have children living with you
- are under the age of 18
- have left care (or are about to do so)
- are in poor health
- have a physical or learning disability
Social services may be able to help by finding accommodation for you, paying for a deposit or providing financial support.
There are no rules about the kind of help social services have to provide.
Refuges for women
Women experiencing domestic abuse may be able to stay in a women's refuge.
Some refuges are specifically for women from certain backgrounds, such as Irish or Asian women.
Staff at refuges can give you advice about your situation.
Contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 for more information about refuges.
Refuges for men
If you are man who has to leave home because of domestic abuse, you can make a homeless application to the council.
There is limited specialist housing for men experiencing domestic abuse.
Contact a Shelter advice centre or Citizens Advice to check what help is available.
Use Shelter's directory to find help in your area.
Help for children and young people
If you or someone else in your family is being hurt at home, you may not be sure what you can do about it. Domestic abuse is not your fault and you won't get into trouble for telling someone about it.
The first thing is to tell someone else about what is happening to you. You can tell a teacher, a neighbour, a friend or a friend's parent.
You can call Childline on 0800 1111 for free. They won't tell anyone else you are calling unless you are in immediate danger. They can tell you about places where you can get help.
Find out more from The Hideout about children and young people and domestic abuse and violence.
Get more help
If you need more help call our free advice helpline on 0808 800 4444.
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