Housing advice if you experience domestic violence or abuse



Please visit our dedicated page for the latest advice on help and support available. Housing specific information is on this page.


Where can I go?
You may be able to stay temporarily with a friend or relative while you consider your options and obtain advice. If not, or if you fear the violent person might follow you there, contact Housing Options. We will give you advice on the same day that you contact us. If you are in danger we will offer you a place of safety. This is likely to be a women’s refuge.
If you are fleeing violence, you can ask any Council for help. The law says that a local authority must provide advice and assistance to anyone who is homeless or threatened with homelessness as a result of actual or threatened abuse or violence. Your own Council may decide that they cannot offer a safe place for you in the local area, but will assist you to find a women’s refuge or other suitable safe place to stay outside the local area.
What is a women’s refuge?
A refuge offers confidential counselling and information over the phone and if necessary emergency accommodation, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The address of the refuge is kept as secret as possible, to protect the women who stay there. The staff offer support and advice on how to claim benefits & how to get legal advice.
What if I can’t go to a refuge and do not have friends or relatives who can accommodate me?
If you can’t organise a temporary stay with people you know and can’t go to a refuge, please contact Housing Options. We may be able to offer temporary accommodation, which may be a B&B.
Are there other alternative to leaving my property?
If you are suffering physical violence or abuse in your home, you should obtain legal advice from a solicitor, Citizen’s Advice Bureau or specialist advisers at Worth Services or Women’s Aid. The solicitor or adviser will let you know if you can seek an injunction in Court against the person you live with. The injunction can order the person to:
  • Not assault or harass you (called a Non Molestation Order)
  • Not to assault any children living with you
  • To leave the property (called an Occupation Order)
  • To keep away from your home or other places you go to regularly, such as your work or your children’s school
  • To let you back into the home if you were forced out (Occupation Order)
Sometimes an injunction will have a power of arrest. If the injunction is broken, the abuser may be brought back to court to make it even more effective, or they may even be sentenced to prison. If you are assaulted or threatened, you should inform the Police, who will be able to assist you.
The Sanctuary scheme
This is a victim-centred scheme to help victims of domestic violence and abuse to feel safer in their home when the abuser does not live there, so that they can stay there while they receive advice and support.  The scheme offers extra security measures such as door and window locks, emergency lighting or measures to prevent or detect fire or smoke.
What will happen if I leave my home?
We may be able to reach a voluntary agreement with the person being violent to you that they leave the home and agree to you staying there. They may be prepared to assign the tenancy to you or transfer the property ownership. If this can’t be arranged voluntarily, you may be assisted to go to Court for a judgement about the home.  You can get advice about all of these choices from Housing Options, a solicitor or Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
Housing law (Housing Act 1996 Part VII) says that you must do all you can to retain your home, even if you have to leave it temporarily, so you should not voluntarily give up your tenancy or other rights to your home, because this could jeopardise any homelessness application you make to the Council.

Duty to Refer: 1 October 2018

If you represent a partner organisation that has the Duty to Refer with effect from October 2018 (See List.docx [docx] 15KB ) and you have a client in your service who is homeless or threatened with homelessness, and who has a connection to Arun, please complete the attached Duty to refer form.docx [docx] 106KB, with the client’s consent, and email it to dutytorefer@arun.gov.uk

The form also has the contact details for other Councils within West Sussex if your client has a local connection to one of those Council areas.