Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.
If you’re worried about violence or abuse from your partner, ex-partner or a member of your family, you can get help and advice. If you’re in immediate danger, you should always phone the police on 999. You can also contact the Police on their non-emergency number: 101.
Leaving your home
Not everyone leaving home due to violence is entitled to emergency accommodation.
- If you think you need to leave your home, try to get advice from our Housing Options Team before you leave.
- If you are a council tenant you can contact your Housing Officer to discuss the matter in confidence.
- If you are in temporary accommodation provided and managed by Gravesham Borough Council, you should contact the Temporary Accommodation Team by email TA@gravesham.gov.uk.
- If you are in temporary accommodation within Gravesham provided and managed by a different Council you should contact them to discuss your options without delay.
- If you are a housing association tenant please contact your Housing Manager at your housing association.
If you do need to leave, it might be that you could stay with friends’ or relatives while you think about what to do next. If you are a woman leaving domestic abuse, you can try and find a place in a women's refuge. The National Domestic Abuse Helpline - 0808 2000 247 may be able to help you with this. 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.
You should avoid making a decision to give up your home permanently until you have spoken to an adviser and considered all your options.
For further information use Shelter's directory to find a Shelter advice centre or Citizens Advice in your area.
Remaining in your home
If you do not want to leave your home, there are options available to minimise the risk to you. These include applying for Non-Molestation and Occupation Orders and the Sanctuary Scheme.
The Sanctuary Scheme reduces risks by carrying out safety works in your home such as fitting a sanctuary door, changing locks, securing windows and installing fire proof letter boxes. You can access this service by contacting your allocated Housing Options Officer to discuss your options.
How we can help
You can apply to the council as a homeless person if you can't stay in your home. We will have a duty to assess the circumstances of your homelessness, identify what your housing and support needs are, and to work with you to try to prevent your homelessness or support you to find somewhere to live.
We will provide you with a ‘personal housing plan’ which will tell you what we can do to help you and what you can do to help yourself.
Some people are entitled to emergency accommodation in order to assess whether there is a duty to find them somewhere to live and you will be asked to provide details of your situation. You may be asked for supporting evidence, which could include details and dates of incidents. In most cases we will initially offer you refuge accommodation as this provides you with a place of safety, security and support.
Advice for non-violent relationship breakdown
Housing rights in a relationship breakdown can be complicated and you may need to seek legal advice. If you have a joint tenancy or own a property with your ex-partner you may still have rights to occupy the place you are living in together.
You may have rights to remain in the property even if you do not have a joint tenancy or own the property jointly. This may be the case if you have dependents living in the property. If you are living in social housing, it is very unlikely that your landlord will get involved with the details of who can remain in the property. This is because this matter is guided by Matrimonial Homes and Children’s Act legislation.
It is important that you seek legal advice before leaving the property. Many law firms offer fixed fee interviews where you can get comprehensive advice on your legal rights to remain in the property and how the matter can be resolved longer term.
- Information and advice for joint tenants and what their housing rights are after splitting up is available on Shelter's website. Shelter can also be contacted by telephone: 0808 800 4444
- Citizens Advice Bureau - for general and legal advice and help. Telephone: 0800 144 8848
If a court determines you have to leave
If you apply for housing assistance because you are homeless in these circumstances, we may not necessarily be legally obliged to provide you with any accommodation.
However, we will have a duty to assess the circumstances of your homelessness, identify what your housing and support needs are, and to work with you to try to prevent your homelessness or support you to find you somewhere to live. We will provide you with a ‘personal housing plan’ which will tell you what we can do to help you and what you can do to help yourself.
Refuges for women
Women experiencing domestic abuse may be offered accommodation in a women's refuge. Some refuges are specifically for women from certain backgrounds, such as Irish or Asian women. Staff at refuges can give you advice about your situation and discuss your options for move-on.
Contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 for more information about refuges.
Refuges for men
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.
Help for children and young people
If you or someone else in your family is being hurt at home, you may not be sure what you can do about it. Domestic abuse is not your fault and you won't get into trouble for telling someone about it. The first thing is to tell someone else about what is happening to you. You can tell a teacher, a neighbour, a friend or a friend's parent.
You can call Childline on 0800 1111 for free. They won't tell anyone else you are calling unless you are in immediate danger. They can tell you about places where you can get help. Find out more from The Hideout about children and young people and domestic abuse and violence.