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How to make an abusive partner leave your home

You can ask the council for homeless help if you're experiencing domestic abuse.

They should give you safe housing.

They cannot tell you that you have to stay where you are.

Police help to make your partner leave

You can call the police on 999 if you're at risk of harm.

The police might arrest your partner and charge them with a criminal offence.

Bail conditions could mean your partner cannot:

  • return to where you live

  • contact you

If your partner is not arrested or charged

The police could give them a domestic violence protection notice (DVPN). This notice:

  • lasts 48 hours

  • takes effect straight away

  • can stop your partner from coming within a certain distance of your home

The police can then ask the magistrates court for a domestic violence protection order (DVPO). This can keep an abusive partner away from your home for up to 28 days.

You do not have to go to court. A magistrate can make a DVPO without you being there.

This gives you some time to decide what to do.

Court orders that could protect you

You can ask a family court for:

  • an occupation order to make your abusive partner leave

  • a non molestation order to stop harassment and abuse

These orders are free. You can apply for either type of order or both.

You could get free legal help or support.

Domestic abuse protection orders

Sometimes a court can make an order to stop your abusive partner's behaviour if you and your partner are already in court for a different reason. For example, if your landlord applies for an eviction order.

This is not the same as getting an occupation order or a non molestation order.

This type of order is called a domestic abuse protection order (DAPO).

A DAPO can also tell your abusive partner to:

  • stop abusing, threatening or harassing you

  • stop contacting you

  • stay away from you

The court can make a DAPO if they see evidence of domestic abuse. It can last for up to 18 months.

Your abusive partner can be arrested if they breach a DAPO.

What is an occupation order?

It is a court order that says who:

  • can live in the family home

  • must leave the family home

  • should pay rent or mortgage and the bills

You can call the police if your partner or ex breaks the occupation order.

They could be arrested, fined or imprisoned.

How long does an occupation order last?

Occupation orders can:

  • have no set end date

  • be for a set amount of time, such as 6 months

  • end after an event, such as divorce or your youngest child turning 18

Occupation orders do not change home ownership or tenancy rights.

What is a non molestation order?

It is a court order that can stop a partner, former partner or family member from:

  • contacting you, your family or workplace

  • harassing or intimidating you in person or online

A non molestation order usually lasts between 6 and 12 months.

Your partner or ex could go to prison if they break a non molestation order.

How to get a court order

Fill in court Form FL401.

The court forms are on GOV.UK. There are easy read and large print forms.

Look at the forms so you know what evidence the court needs to see.

You can use CourtNav to help you apply. CourtNav is a free online service from Citizens Advice. The CourtNav team help with completing the court form and your supporting statement.

Get free legal advice

You could get legal aid if you have a low income or are on benefits.

Some solicitors give free one off advice even if you cannot get legal aid.

Find out how to get free legal help and support.

How long does it take to get an order?

The family court treat these applications as a priority.

It could still take a couple of weeks for a court hearing to happen.

If the court allows a 'without notice' application it can be quicker. For example, 2 days.

Without notice means that your partner or ex is not told about your application until after the order is made. For example, because telling them before could put you at risk.

Will you have to go to a hearing?

You have to go to the hearing. The hearing is held in private with the judge.

You could get legal representation or help with the process.

Your partner or ex could be there unless it's a 'without notice' application. They could also be at another hearing at a later date, if there is one.

Speak to the court staff about your safety if you are worried about them being there. You might be able to give evidence over the phone or by a video link.

Your rights to stay in your home

You have a legal right to live in your family home if you:

But you can apply for an occupation order even if you do not have a legal right to live there. You then have a right to live there as long as the occupation order is in place.

Domestic abuse charities

These organisations have trained advisers who can help you work out what to do to stay safe.

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 victims of honour based abuse or forced marriage

Hestia Refuge Referral Line
0808 169 9975
For refuge spaces in London

London Victim and Witness Service
0808 168 9291
London only

Rights of Women
020 7251 6577
Free legal advice for women including family law and immigration advice

Last updated: 8 April 2024

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