What you can do if you’ve been affected
You can call the National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247.
Helpline staff will do their best to find you somewhere safe to stay that night even if the local refuge is full.
If you’re a man experiencing domestic abuse, you can get help from the Men’s Advice Line: 0808 8010 327
If you are the victim of an abusive relationship, you might want to:
- Find somewhere safe to stay
- Report the violence to the police
- Get a court order to stop your abusive partner from harming or threatening you
- Take legal action
- Get help from a charity or another organisation
Finding somewhere safe to stay
You may need somewhere safe to stay, either alone or with your children if you have them. You could:
- Stay with relatives or friends
- Stay in a refuge. Refuges provide somewhere safe for people to stay. Staff at refuges are specialise in dealing with domestic violence, and so can give a lot of emotional and practical support, for example, advice on benefit claims, which solicitors to use and, if necessary, how to contact the police.
- Get emergency accommodation from the local authority under homeless persons law – this will usually mean a bed and breakfast hostel. Local authorities should deal sympathetically with applications from people who are in fear of violence. You can ask for a private interview, with someone of the same sex, and can take a friend with you for support. The local authority may have a duty to provide emergency accommodation for you while it decides whether you are legally homeless. If it is outside of normal office hours, you should telephone the local authority’s emergency out-of-hours number for help with emergency housing.
- Get privately rented accommodation. If you decide to go into privately rented accommodation, you will be unlikely to be able to arrange it quickly – but it could be an option if you have time to plan your departure.
Reporting Violence to the Police
Many kinds of domestic abuse are criminal offences, and the police can arrest, caution or charge the perpetrator. Most police stations have Domestic Violence Units or Community Safety Units with specially trained officers to deal with domestic violence and abuse.
You should call 999 in an emergency or 101 in a non-emergency or you can attend a police station in person to report an incident. Find information on all the UK police websites through the UK Police Service Portal.
If the police arrest and charge a perpetrator, they will decide whether to keep them in custody or release them on bail.
There will usually be conditions attached to their bail to protect you from further violence and abuse. Make sure you ask for your crime reference number which you may need if you contact other agencies for help.
The Crown Prosecution Service will make the final decision on whether your abuser is prosecuted – you might have to go to court if they are. If you’re worried about going to court, you can get free help and support from the Citizens Advice Witness Service.
The police can also give you advice on crime prevention and getting something called a police marker on your address, so an officer can get to your home as quickly as possible.
Get legal protection
You can ask the court to:
- Stop the person harming or threatening you – this is called a ‘non-molestation order’
- Get the abuser to leave your home or stop them coming back – this is called an ‘occupation order’
- You can apply for a non-molestation order or an occupation order using a free tool called CourtNav that’s run by RCJ Citizens Advice. This is a Citizens Advice office which specialises in legal services
The CourtNav system will help you find the best way forward and check if you can get legal aid to help with your legal costs. It can:
- Help you find a legal aid solicitor if you can get legal aid
- Help you apply to the court yourself
Recommended charities and other organisations can be found here: Domestic violence and abuse – getting help – Citizens Advice.
Respect – Men’s Advice Line – number?
The Men’s Advice Line is a confidential helpline for all men experiencing domestic violence. They provide emotional support and practical advice, and can give you details of specialist services that can give you advice on legal, housing, child contact, mental health and other issues.
National Domestic Abuse helpline – number?
The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is a freephone 24 hour helpline which provides advice and support and can refer you to emergency accommodation. The National Domestic Abuse Helpline is run by Refuge.There are translation facilities if your first language is not English. The Helpline also offers BT Type talk for callers with hearing difficulties. The Helpline worker contacts the Type talk operator so that the caller can communicate through them.
National DA Helpline Website – link?
RCJ Advice Family Service – Link?
RCJ Advice Family Service can give legal advice to people who are affected by domestic abuse or need family law help – find out more on the RCJ Advice website.