Help if you’re homeless: domestic abuse

This page has been updated following the coronavirus outbreak

If you aren't safe in your home because of violence, abuse or threatening behaviour, you can get help with a safe place to stay or support to stay in your home safely.

Report domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is a crime and the police can help to protect you.

Call 999 if you or your children are in danger now

Get help from the police if it's not safe to talk

If you need to call 999 but it's not safe to talk or make a noise, you can still get help using the Silent Solution System.

Try and whisper if it's safe to do so. You might also be asked to cough or tap the phone.

Stay on the line if you can't make any sound.

If you're on a mobile you'll hear an automated police message that begins “you are through to the police” and lasts 20 seconds.

Press 55 after this. You will be transferred to your local police force who will give you instructions.

If you're calling from a landline you don’t need to press 55. You’ll be automatically put through to a police call handler if you don’t make any sound.

What counts as domestic abuse

Domestic abuse doesn't just mean physical violence. It could be abuse if your partner or family member, for example:

  • verbally abuses you
  • controls your money or finances
  • stops you from contacting family or friends

Find out how to recognise domestic abuse at Refuge.

Find a place in a women's refuge

You might be able to get safe housing and support in a women's refuge. Call:

National Domestic Abuse Helpline
0808 2000 247
Free 24 hour helpline

You may be able to get free rail travel to take up a place in a refuge. Ask the National Domestic Abuse Helpline or the Women's Aid live chat service about this.

Ask the council for help

You can ask any council for homelessness help if you're at risk in your home or can't stay there because of domestic abuse.

The council must help with emergency housing if you're classed as priority need.

You have an automatic priority need if:

  • you have children with you
  • you're pregnant
  • you're a care leaver under 21

Even if none of these apply, the council must help with emergency housing if they think you're vulnerable. For example, because of the abuse or due to physical or mental health problems.

The government plans to change the law so anyone fleeing domestic abuse is automatically in priority need. This change hasn't been introduced yet.

If you can't get council help

Sometimes the council's homeless department can't help because of immigration and residence conditions. If this affects you, you might still be able to get help from social services.

If you live in the UK on a spouse or partner visa, you can ask the Home Office for permission to claim benefits and get homeless help.

Rights of Women can provide free legal advice if you're in this situation.

Get advice in a safe space

If you're experiencing abuse during the coronavirus outbreak, you can go to any Boots store and ask to use their consultation room or 'safe space' at the healthcare counter.

In the consultation room you can get access to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline and the men's domestic abuse charity the Men's Advice Line.

You can find more information on other pharmacies that have safe spaces at UK SAYS NO MORE.

Get an injunction

You may be able to get an injunction or occupation order to stop your partner or ex partner from entering your home.

You can complete a FLOWS self referral form to register for help from a legal adviser to look at your options.

To get an injunction you can:

Find out more about injunctions on GOV.UK

Get advice and support

You can get help and advice from:

National Domestic Abuse Helpline
0808 2000 247
Women only

Men's Advice Line
0808 801 0327
Men only

National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline
0800 999 5428

Karma Nirvana
0800 5999 247
Honour based abuse and forced marriage

Rights of Women
020 7251 6577 
Free legal advice for women

London Victim and Witness Service
0808 168 9291  
London only


Last updated - 28 May 2020

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