Domestic abuse advice and information
Helplines and support organisations
You can contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 if you’re a woman experiencing domestic abuse. You can talk confidentially to someone about your situation and to find out what your options are.
If you are a man experiencing domestic abuse you can contact the Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327.
If you are in a same-sex relationship you can call the National LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline on 0800 999 5428.
Call the police on 101 (if it is not an emergency) or 999 in an emergency, if your personal safety is threatened.
Cambridge Women’s Aid provides an outreach service for women living in any kind of tenure, who are experiencing domestic abuse in Cambridge City or South Cambridgeshire. Telephone 01223 361214 (emergency out of hours 07730 322098).
Help to stay in your home
If you feel that you want to stay in your home, you can get legal advice about obtaining an injunction. An injunction is a court order that either:
- protects you or your child from being harmed or threatened by the person who’s abused you (this is called a ‘non-molestation order’), or
- decides who can live in the family home or enter the surrounding area - this is called an ‘occupation order’.
You could obtain an occupation order even if you do not own any interest in the property you have been living in, or you are not a tenant.
If your income is low, you could get ‘legal aid’ to help with the legal costs. The National Centre for Domestic Violence provide a free, fast emergency injunction service to survivors of domestic violence regardless of their financial circumstances, race, gender or sexual orientation. You can call 0800 970 2070 or txt NCDV to 60777.
If you are frightened that your ex will break the terms of the injunction, despite the risk of being arrested, you might want to consider a ‘Sanctuary Scheme’. You could get a number of extra security measures installed at your address. If you would like to explore this option, you can obtain further advice from the 'Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub' (MASH) by dialing 101. The MASH will probably put you in touch with an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA).
Moving to a safe place
Make sure you plan your departure safely. Call the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run by Refuge and Women’s Aid on 0808 2000 247, they can help you talk through your options. The helpline acts as the gateway to all services across the country and helps women find a space in a refuge.
If don’t have any friends or relatives or other accommodation that you can stay in safely, there are specialist refuges all over the UK. Refuges are not just emergency accommodation – you will be supported to rebuild your life.
If you have decided to leave home, take some essentials with you such as a change of clothes, toiletries and any medication you need to take regularly. Try to bring important items such as your passport, bank and credit cards and mobile phone. Do not make a decision to give up your home permanently until you have obtained advice about your rights from a solicitor, the Council’s Housing Advice Service, Citizen’s Advice Bureau or other advice agency.
Bromley Women's Aid offers a safe alternative to Bed & Breakfast and other hostel accommodation for women and children escaping domestic abuse. The safebeds scheme is available to women fleeing domestic abuse who are usually ineligible for housing help, because they are from abroad and have ‘no recourse to public funds’. Telephone 0280 313 9303.
Applying as a homeless person
You can apply to a local housing authority as a homeless person. If you are an eligible person and can show that you have nowhere that you can safely remain in or return to, the council will work with you to help you find somewhere else to live. If they consider you are in priority need, they will find you temporary accommodation in a safe area, in the meantime. You will be in priority need if you have children or are pregnant. You may also be in priority need if the domestic abuse you have suffered has made you particularly vulnerable. If you have children with you or are pregnant, the temporary accommodation should not be bed & breakfast.
The council will work with you to develop a ‘Personalised Housing Plan’. This will outline the steps that both you and the council should take to find you more settled housing in a safe place.
This work will go on for a period of 56 days, or until you secure a new home. If they are unable to help you find a home during this ‘relief period’, and you are in priority need (and have co-operated with the council), they may then make you a direct offer of housing.
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