What do I do if I don't feel safe at home?
If you don't feel safe at home, whether this is because of someone you live with or because of your neighbours then the council may be able to help you. If you feel at immediate risk of harm you should call the police on 999. You can also contact the police online (here) if you are not able to call them. If you are worried about community safety then you can look at our website on crime prevention here.
Sometimes we can be afraid of the people we live with, if you feel like this there is help available for you. You do not have to live in a home that you do not feel safe in. You may think that someone in your household is being controlling, for example if they withold money from you or stop you from seeing your friends or family. You may feel that you are forced to do something you are not comfortable with, like sex. Abuse in the home can happen to anyone: men or women, young or old, gay or straight. Sometimes abuse can be going on for a very long time, there are support services who can help you no matter when the abuse first started.
There is support available for everyone. UAVA is a service to support anyone facing abuse, harassment or stalking, including honour-based violence, online abuse or stalking. You could talk to your doctor or nurse about how you are feeling at home or talk to your manager at work or a teacher at your childrens' school. Find someone you trust to talk to. The Housing Team are always here to talk to you if you are unsure about what to do. You can call the contact centre on 01858 82 82 82 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also be able to get legal help for free with Legal Aid. Many local solicitors would be able to give you some free advice as well.
What if I need to leave my home now?
If you do not feel safe to remain in your home then please contact the housing team as soon as possible. You can complete the homelessness assistance form online. If you cannot complete the online form, then you can call the contact centre on 01858 82 82 82 or email us at email@example.com.
We may be able to find you a refuge, if you are eligible. Sometimes if you have older children you would not be able to go to a refuge. Refuges are safe houses, usually shared with other people in a similar situation to you. No one can find you if you are in a refuge, you would be safe and you would be given help and support. The refuge is just a short-term place to live while we help you look for somewhere more permanent to move to.
If you are not able to go to a refuge then you may be able to go to other temporary accommodation arranged by the council. Sometimes leaving your home may also mean changing jobs or schools to make sure that you break contact with the person who was abusive to you or your family.
We understand how leaving your home would be a massive change to your life, our main priority is ensuring that you are safe and that you have support. If you have dependant children then we may be able to move them as well to ensure that everyone in your household is safe.
Can I get help to move in the future?
We understand that you may not want to leave your home now, it can be a very big step to take. You can talk to a support worker at UAVA and you can get advice on leaving your current home by contacting the housing team. You can contact us by email here: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you can stay where you are for now or if you can safely stay with friends or family, you may want to look at moving to a new home in the future. There are several options for you to consider. You might be able to look for a private rented property in the area, sometimes the council can help you find somewhere to move to or help you pay rent-in-advance or a deposit. You may also be eligible to join the housing register, there is more information on eligibility for the housing register here. Please be aware that it can take a long time to find a property through the housing register.
If you are married or joint-owner of a property then you may have legal protection to get your share of the property. This can seem daunting at first but there is help for you. You may also be able to get legal help for free with Legal Aid. Many local solicitors would be able to give you some free advice as well.
If you live in a Housing Association property then you may be able to get help from your landlord. You can call your Housing Association's contact centre who should be able to advise you on the best options for you.