What is priority need?
You're at risk of domestic abuse
Since 5 July 2021 you have a priority need if you're homeless because of domestic abuse, even if you don't have children with you.
You are homeless if it's not reasonable to stay in your home because it's likely that you or a family member will suffer domestic abuse there.
You don't have to leave your home before you ask for help.
Housing officers should know about the change in law. Show them this page if they say they can't help you with emergency housing.
If you don't want emergency housing right now
You can still ask for homeless help and talk to the council about moving somewhere safe.
Proof of domestic abuse
You should not be told to provide evidence of domestic abuse when you first ask for help.
A housing officer can look into your situation but they should not approach your abuser or make enquiries that put you at risk.
With your permission, the housing officer can speak to:
your friends or family
domestic abuse support services
social services, health professionals or the police
The council must not demand police reports or proof of violence before they help.
Help to talk to the council
You can take a friend to help you explain things.
Domestic abuse charities have specialist advisers who may be able to:
help you talk to the council
attend your homeless assessment with you
What counts as domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse is usually carried out by a partner or ex-partner, or by relatives.
You don't have to live together for it to be domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse is not limited to physical violence. The legal definition includes:
physical or sexual abuse
violent or threatening behaviour
controlling or coercive behaviour
psychological or emotional abuse
Women's Aid explains more about the types of behaviour that are domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, education, income or class.
If the council say you don't have a priority need
You are always in priority need if you're homeless because of domestic abuse.
The council must provide emergency housing while they look into your situation if they think you might be homeless because of domestic abuse.
If the council believe you are not homeless or in priority need after they have looked into your situation they must give you a letter that fully explains the reasons for this.
You can ask for a review of the council's decision.
Last updated: 8 December 2021