Help if you’re homeless: domestic abuse
What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse is not limited to physical violence. It includes:
physical or sexual abuse
violent or threatening behaviour
controlling or coercive behaviour
psychological or emotional abuse
Domestic abuse is usually carried out by a partner or ex-partner. It is also be carried out by relatives. You don't have to be living in the same home for it to be domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, education, income or class.
But most victims of domestic abuse are women. For this reason, some domestic abuse services and most refuge spaces are for women and their children.
Get help from the council's homeless team
You count as homeless if you're at risk of domestic abuse in your home.
This means you can make a homeless application to the council if you can't stay in your home or need help to deal with domestic abuse.
From 5 July 2021, you also have an automatic priority need if you're homeless because of domestic abuse. This means the council must provide emergency housing if you need it.
You can approach any council you choose and you can't be referred back to an area where you're at risk of domestic abuse.
You can only get help from the homeless team if you meet the immigration conditions.
Proof of domestic abuse
The council will look into your situation but you should not be required to provide evidence of domestic 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.
Help to talk to the council
You may find it difficult to talk to a housing officer about what you're experiencing. It can help to talk to a domestic abuse charity first.
This page lists several domestic abuse charities including specialist services for women, men, LGBT+ people and people experiencing honour based abuse or forced marriage.
Domestic abuse charities have trained advisers and advocates to help you talk to the council.
Find a place in a women's refuge
You might be able to get safe housing and support in a women's refuge.
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.
Contact a charity or helpline
National Domestic Abuse Helpline
0808 2000 247
Men's Advice Line for male victims of domestic abuse
0808 801 0327
National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline
0800 999 5428
For LGBT+ people
Rights of Women
020 7251 6577
Free legal advice for women including family law and immigration advice
Get advice in a safe space
You can go to any Boots or Superdrug store and ask to use their consultation room or 'safe space' at the healthcare counter. Other pharmacies and TSB bank are also participating in this scheme.
In the consultation room you can find specialist domestic abuse support information and can contact a domestic abuse charity.
Find a safe space to access advice on UK SAYS NO MORE.
Ending an existing tenancy
You don't have to make a decision about your tenancy immediately if you can't stay there because of domestic abuse.
Get legal advice on an injunction
You may be able to get an injunction or occupation order to stop an abuser from entering your home, or to remove an abusive partner or ex partner if they won't leave.
Women experiencing domestic abuse can complete a self referral form on the FLOWS website to find a legal adviser to look at your options.
To get an injunction you can:
Last updated: 6 July 2021