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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

  • financial abuse

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:

  • feel safest

  • 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.

The council must give you emergency housing if you meet immigration conditions.

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':

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
For women

Men's Advice Line
0808 801 0327
For men

National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline
0800 999 5428
For LGBTQ+ people

Karma Nirvana
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.

Find out:

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

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