Help if you’re homeless because of domestic abuse
Domestic abuse can be:
physical or sexual abuse
violent or threatening behaviour
psychological or emotional abuse
controlling behaviour or someone making you do things you do not want to
Domestic abuse is not always physical violence.
Domestic abuse is from a partner, ex partner or a family member.
You do not have to live in the same home for it to be domestic abuse.
Victim Support has more about recognising the signs of domestic abuse.
Help from a council homeless team
You can ask any council for help to find another place to live.
The council must help you if you're at risk of domestic abuse.
Tell the council that you want to make a homeless application because of domestic abuse.
You can apply to more than one council. It is usually better to apply to one council in the area where you want to be.
Find out more about getting homeless help from the council.
Which council to go to
You can choose which council you speak to.
Think about where you:
can get support from friends, family or organisations
A council cannot tell you to go to another area if you ask them for help.
The council must not send you to any area where you would be at risk of domestic abuse or other violence.
Proof of domestic abuse
The council should not ask you for proof of the abuse when you first ask for help.
The council must not approach your abuser.
With your permission, the council can speak to your friends or family, social services, health professionals, domestic abuse support services or the police to confirm your situation.
If you cannot get help for immigration reasons
Some refuges have spaces for women who cannot get benefits or other housing help.
Talk to these charities if you have 'no recourse to public funds':
Southall Black Sisters (London) 020 8571 9595
Safety4Sisters (North West England) 0161 464 9505
The Angelou Centre (North East England) 0191 226 0394
Advice in a safe space
Many pharmacies, banks and some jobcentres have a room you can use as a safe space.
You can use a private room to:
contact a domestic abuse charity
talk to a friend or family member
Find a safe space on UK SAYS NO MORE.
Find a place in a refuge
Most refuges are for women and their children.
Some services are trans inclusive and some are for men.
These free helplines run by charities offer support and could help you find a refuge space:
National Domestic Abuse Helpline
0808 2000 247
Men's Advice Line
0808 801 0327
National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline
0800 999 5428
For LGBTQ+ people
0800 5999 247
For people at risk of honour based abuse or forced marriage
Hestia Refuge Referral Line
0808 169 9975
For people looking for refuge spaces in London
Free travel to a refuge
You could get free travel to a refuge.
The refuge can book your train or coach tickets and send them to your phone.
Ask the Women's Aid live chat service or Men's Advice line about this.
Other support from domestic abuse charities
Domestic abuse charities can help with:
planning and preparing to leave
finding somewhere safe to stay
talking to the council homeless team
support and recovery from abuse
advice on housing, money and your children
Ending your tenancy
You do not have to make a decision about your tenancy straight away.
You might want to return when it's safe, or you might not be sure right now.
If you think you could return in the next year, you could get help to pay the rent.
Find out about getting help with rent for the home you left.
Get an abusive partner to leave your home
You could get a court order to make your partner or ex partner leave.
Help to open a new bank account
You might need a new bank account to claim benefits if you had a shared bank account.
Some banks allow you to open a basic bank account without the usual ID or proof of address.
Find out about opening a new bank account safely from Surviving Economic Abuse.
Read our guide on how to open a bank account if you're homeless.
Last updated: 27 November 2023