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Housing Advice: Domestic Abuse

Housing advice and options for people affected by domestic abuse

If you feel that you are in immediate danger, please dial 999 and ask to speak to the Police. If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, dial 999 and then press 55, where you will be assisted without having to speak. 

For non-emergencies, please dial 101.

Need to leave your home?

If you are fleeing domestic abuse, you are entitled to apply to any local authority under homelessness legislation. You will not be referred back to your local authority of residence if you are at risk of further abuse upon your return.

If you wish to discuss your situation with us, please contact the Housing Operations Team as soon as is safe for you to do so.

You can either come in to the council offices at Market Street, Newbury, RG14 5LD between the hours of 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday or 8.30am to 4.30pm on Friday. Or, you can email us at housing@westberks.gov.uk or call 01635 519 530 and choose option 2.

Please note: you can request to be seen by an officer of the same gender as you, and you can request an interpreter if you do not speak English. Furthermore, you will be under no obligation to report any incident to the police if you seek help from us.

An officer will discuss the situation with you. If it is determined that you are eligible for homelessness assistance and you are the victim of domestic abuse, then you will automatically be assessed as in 'priority need'. This means that should you have no accommodation to occupy, that is reasonable and safe for you to do so, there is a responsibility on the local authority to find you alternative accommodation.

The accommodation offered will vary depending on your circumstances and the outcome of a risk assessment. You may be referred to a refuge, or placed in to emergency accommodation whilst longer term options are explored.
 

If You Wish to Remain in Your Own Home

Safer Spaces can prevent homelessness by enabling victims to remain safely in their own home where it is their choice and it is safe to do so. The scheme can provide enhanced security measures in the home, which delay or prevent a perpetrator from gaining entry into and within a property and allow time for the police to arrive. The Safer Spaces Scheme can provide security even if you have moved from where the abuse occurred.

If you are a tenant living in a housing association property, please discuss this further with your housing officer, who will be able to make the relevant referral.

If you are not living in a housing association property, please contact our Housing Options Team. An officer will assist you with making a referral for any works to be completed.
 

The Domestic Abuse Bill

The Domestic Abuse Bill received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021 making this an Act in Law. The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 will provide further protections to those experiencing domestic abuse and strengthen measures to tackle perpetrators.

The Act provides a statutory definition of what domestic abuse is, to ensure that emotional, coercive or controlling and economic abuse are included. Children are also recognised as victims if they see, hear or experience the effects of domestic abuse.

You can find out more about the Domestic Abuse Act on the Home Office blog website.
 

Enforcing Your Rights

There are certain legal options that individuals can pursue if they are a victim of domestic abuse.

If you wish to do this, it is best to seek legal advice and you may be eligible for legal aid.
 

A Non-molestation Order

A non-molestation order is aimed at preventing your partner or ex-partner from using or threatening violence against you or your child, or intimidating, harassing or pestering you, in order to ensure the health, safety and well-being of yourself and your children.
 

An Occupation Order

An occupation order regulates who can live in the family home, and can also restrict your abuser from entering the surrounding area. An occupation order can:

  • Order your abuser to move out of the home or to stay away from the home
  • Order your abuser to keep a certain distance away from the home
  • Order your abuser to stay in certain parts of the home at certain times (for example it can order them to sleep in a different bedroom)
  • Order your abuser to allow you back into the home if they have locked you out
  • Order your abuser to continue to pay the mortgage, rent or bills

For more information on these options, please visit the Rights of Women website, or call the National Centre for Domestic Violence, which provides a free, fast emergency injunction service to survivors of domestic abuse, on 080 0970 2070.

To find advice and support, please use the Icon for pdf West Berkshire Domestic Abuse Support Services Directory [869.1KB] .
 

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