I'm experiencing violence, abuse or threats

Advice for if you are experiencing violence at home

It is not okay if someone is being violent, abusive or threatening to you – even if that’s your partner or a family member. It is wrong and it is domestic abuse. This means that you should be considered a priority for support with housing from your local council. You have rights so you can get away from this situation and find somewhere safe to live. If you are in immediate danger, please call 999.  

On this page, we’ll cover the following questions related to violence, abuse or threats and tell you about the support that’s available. Contact the Centrepoint Helpline if you would like to talk this through.

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What is domestic abuse? 
How can the council help me if I’m experiencing domestic abuse? 
Can I get emergency housing if I’m experiencing domestic abuse?
Do I need to provide evidence to get help? 
What other services are available for help beyond the council? 

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse can be violent, aggressive or threatening behaviour, usually by a partner, family member or carer. Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality or background.  

You might not know whether what you’re experiencing is ‘abuse’. What’s important is how the behaviour makes you feel.  

Here are some different types of abuse and examples of what they look like:  

Physical abuse

Causing you physical harm on purpose, including hitting, slapping, pushing, pulling or being restrained. 

Emotional and psychological abuse

Shouting, acting aggressively, insulting, criticising or humiliating you. 

Coercive control

Isolating you from friends and family, taking control over aspects of your everyday life, stopping you from accessing medical services.  

Sexual abuse

Touching you sexually without your consent, forcing you to have sex, raping you, secretly filming or taking pictures of you and showing them to other people.

Financial abuse

Not being allowed to access money or work, controlling your incomings and outgoings and making you feel isolated. 

Tech abuse

Demanding access to your phone, laptop, tablet or online accounts, or keeping track of your movements using spyware.

‘Honour’-based abuse

Being told you have brought shame on your family or community, or given them a bad name. Controlling and punishing you in order to protect cultural and religious beliefs. 

This behaviour is not okay. You don’t deserve to be made to feel scared or small and you can get help. Healthy relationships won’t look like this. 

If you are in immediate danger, please call 999.  

If you’re 16 to 25 and want to get help because you are experiencing domestic abuse, call the Centrepoint Helpline.  

How can the council help me?

If you’re under 18, contact social services for support if you are experiencing domestic abuse. If you don’t know how to do this, contact the Centrepoint Helpline

If you’re over 18, and are experiencing domestic abuse, contact the homeless team of any council to make a homeless application so you can find somewhere safe to live.

You normally need a local connection with the council to get housing support, but not if your local area is dangerous for you. So, that means that if you approach a council that isn’t local to you, they can’t make you go back to an area where you’re at risk of domestic abuse. 

If you are fleeing domestic abuse, the council will consider you to be ‘priority need’.

Can I get emergency housing if I’m experiencing domestic abuse?

The council must provide you with emergency accommodation if you are assessed as priority need. That might be in a bed and breakfast, hotel, refuge or other short-term accommodation. 

You will also get access to a personal housing plan to help you get more permanent accommodation. So, it’s important to make a homeless application even if you find a refuge through a charity. 

  • If you feel more comfortable, you could contact domestic abuse services in your area. They may support you to make a homeless application. 

  • Centrepoint Helpline advisors can also support you to make a homeless application. Contact the Helpline today. 

Will I need to prove I’m experiencing abuse to get help from the council? 

Guidance to councils tells them that they don’t need to ask for proof. But they may ask for it in case you have any evidence which will support your homeless application.

The council has to find out why you’re at risk of homelessness or are homeless. When someone isn’t experiencing domestic abuse, they usually do this by contacting the person you live with to find out what’s happened, or whether you can return home. If you are experiencing domestic abuse, the council's enquiries shouldn't put you at any greater risk of harm. 

The council might ask you if they can speak to your friends and family or the police to find out more about your situation. They should ask you before doing this too.  

If you’re comfortable doing so, reporting the abuse to the police may help to provide evidence of what has been happening to the council. 

If that isn’t something that you want to do, you could talk to Victim Support which would help with providing proof. 

It would also be worth talking to domestic violence charities who may be able to provide an independent domestic violence advocate. This is a professional who can help you liaise with the council and courts. 

Where else can I go for help? 

If you are in immediate danger, please call 999.  

If you’re experiencing ongoing domestic abuse, you should may be able to get a place in a refuge run by a charity. If you do this it’s still important to make a homeless application with the council so you can access longer term support.  

A refuge is a safe temporary place that supports and protects people fleeing domestic abuse. Normally, refuges are for women and their children but there are some for men and LGBTQ+ people.  

The following charities may be able to help you find a refuge 

24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline

Confidential advice and support for women experiencing domestic violence and for those calling on their behalf.  
Call: 0808 2000 247 
Visit the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline site 

Men’s Advice Line website 

Confidential advice and support for men experiencing domestic violence and abuse from a current or ex-partner.
Call: 0808 801 0327
Email: info@mensadviceline.org.uk 
Visit the Men’s Advice Line website 


Support for LGBTQ+ people who have experienced domestic abuse, hate crime and sexual violence.
Call: 0800 999 5428 
Email: help@galop.org.uk 
Visit Galop's Website  

You can also contact the following organisations if you’re looking for help 

Women’s Aid

Live chat or email a support worker through this women’s domestic abuse charity.
Email: helpline@womensaid.org.uk 
Visit Women’s Aid website

Hestia's Refuge Referral Line

Supports women and children experiencing domestic abuse to find safe, secure and suitable refuge spaces across London.
Call: 0808 169 9975
Email: refuge.space@hestia.org 
Visit Hestia's Refuge Referral Line website    

Karma Nirvana’s Helpline

Helpline for anyone affected by ‘honour’-based abuse.
Call: 0800 5999 247  
Visit Karma Nirvana’s Helpline website

My immigration status means I can’t access benefits and I’m experiencing domestic abuse. What can I do? 

If you have the statement ‘no recourse to public funds’ in your visa or passport, it means you can’t access most benefits, including Universal Credit. 

If you’re experiencing domestic abuse and have this kind of immigration status, you may be feeling trapped into staying with someone who abuses you.  

But help is still available so that you can find escape the person who is abusing you and find a safe place to live. You can: 

“Before Centrepoint, I was in toxic situations”

As a teenager, Cameron ended up sofa surfing in inappropriate situations, which put him in danger. Social services referred Cameron to Centrepoint where he met our supported housing officers, Chantelle and Lee. 

Young person on balcony overlooking cityscape
Before Centrepoint I didn’t have any stability. I was in toxic situations with toxic people, living a toxic life.

I was staying with someone I thought was a friend, but they weren’t. I got paint stripper thrown in my eye and now I am partially blind in that eye. It wasn’t safe for me, but I had nowhere else to go. It was that or sleep on the streets.

My so-called friend subjected me to physical and mental abuse. It was petrifying because they thought it was funny. I felt like I had no reason to live.

When I moved to Centrepoint, I had headspace. I had security. I wasn’t around those people. I had support. I had a reason to live so I could do something with my life.
Read Cameron's story