Housing and domestic abuse - your options

You may be concerned about housing in relation to domestic abuse. Whether you own your own home, or are in rented accommodation or don’t have anywhere permanent to live. A lack of a safe home is a real issue, if you’re experiencing domestic abuse.  So what are the options? (these are provided in no particular order).

Moving - Option A - Local authority accommodation

Local authority housing options teams have a statutory responsibility under the Housing Act to provide accommodation for people who’re fleeing violence, including domestic abuse. You do not have to provide supporting evidence, but in reality it is much easier to be accepted as unintentionally homeless if there is some evidence. This could include letters from the police, GP/Health Visitor, a domestic abuse support service, or another professional willing to support the application.

Moving - Option B - Refuge accommodation

A refuge is safe accommodation where women and children who are experiencing domestic violence can stay free from abuse. Support will be provided to you whilst you’re living there for either a few days or weeks (or sometimes a few months). There are also safe houses for men fleeing domestic abuse too in different parts of the UK, including in Somerset. These refuge and safehouses are confidential, and will normally mean having to leave the area where the abuse is taking place to help ensure safety. 

Although you may not want to leave the area where you live, it’s usually safer if refuge or safehouse is a real option for you because you’re in danger from domestic abuse. This is as the person causing you harm could easily trace you locally, and they may have friends or relatives who could see you.

Moving – Option C - Friends or family

Staying with friends or relatives is another option. But this may not be safe if there’s a chance the person causing you harm knows where your friend or relative lives. It may be necessary to get an injunction to stop them approaching you.  Your specialist domestic abuse service worker, or solicitor can help advise on this.

Staying Where You Are – Option A - Occupation orders

This type of order states who has a right to stay in the home. This can mean if you live with the person causing you harm, they have to move out. In order to apply for this type of order, you need to know if you or the abuser (or both) are legally entitled to occupy the property.

Staying Where You Are – Option B - Domestic Violence Protection Order

If you live with person causing you  harm, and the police reasonably believe that you’ve either experienced or been threatened with violence, and you need to be protected. Then the police can serve a Domestic Violence Protection Notice, and apply to the court to make this a Domestic Violence Protection Order. This can stop the person causing harm from entering your home for up to 28 days even if you don’t agree to it.

For more information on your housing options if you're experiencing domestic abuse

Please contact either:

Your local authority housing options team:

  • Mendip District Council 0300 303 8588
  • Sedgemoor District Council 0300 303 7800
  • Somerset West and Taunton Council 0300 304 8000
  • South Somerset District Council 01935 462462

Get more information on staying safe in your home with this leaflet:

Staying Safe in Your Home DL Flyer

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