If you need to leave home because you are being abused by the person you are living with, or are threatened or intimidated by an ex-partner, you may be able to go into a refuge or you may choose to stay temporarily with family or friends; or you may need to go into emergency accommodation.
Staying with Family or Friends
Staying with friends or family may be your first choice, but often it is not very practicable. Your abuser is likely to guess where you are and may put pressure on you to return; and your family or friends may not be willing or able to accommodate you for very long, and may also encourage you to go back home, or make you feel as though you are to blame for the situation.
You are considered homeless if you are unable to stay in your home because of a risk of violence or abuse. Your local authority (council) housing department has a legal duty to provide you with advice about finding somewhere to live if you are homeless because of domestic violence - and they should also provide temporary accommodation for you. They may also eventually provide permanent accommodation.
Can the council force me to go back home?
You may be told that you have to get an injunction (a court order) to keep your abuser away from you or exclude him from your home so that you can return.
Will my rent be paid?
If you are entitled to housing benefit and have left your home because of violence or the threat of violence, you can receive housing benefit on both the temporary accommodation and your original address for a short period of time, if the housing authority considers it reasonable. The violence must have occurred in the home, or be from a member or ex-member of your family. Payment for two homes applies only if you intend to return to your former home as soon as you believe it is safe to do so.
What if I have rent arrears?
The council should not refuse your application for emergency accommodation if you have rent arrears and have left home because of domestic violence. However, the council may have a policy of not rehousing you if you and your partner jointly owe rent on your previous home.
Obtaining permanent accommodation
Provision of temporary accommodation does not guarantee that the you will bere-housed you permanently.
The council also have to give preference to those in 'priority need'. These include:
- People who are vulnerable because of violence or threat of violence
- People in temporary or insecure housing (such as a refuge)
- People with dependent children living with them
- Pregnant women
- Those with particular needs on medical or welfare grounds, or who are particularly vulnerable
If you or someone you know needs more information or help, come to the Portland Centre, where you will find genuine support to sustain you whilst you regain control of your life.
This is how we can help you
- A Portland Centre staff member will listen to your problem and discuss your options
- We will seek specialist advice
- If you need extra support, we will accompany you to meetings and appointments
- We will continue to support you throughout the journey to regain control of your life
Just call us on 01305 824333 or e-mail us using our contact form or pop in to see a Portland Centre staff member to receive immediate assistance.