Domestic abuse and homelessness

Last Updated: 3 April 2024

Domestic abuse includes any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse. The abuse can be psychological, physical, sexual, financial, or emotional.

Domestic abuse can happen between two people who are or were intimate partners or family members, regardless of their gender or sexuality.

If you are in fear of a partner, ex-partner or member of your family do they:

  • call you names and make you feel bad about yourself?
  • make you afraid by threatening you or your children?
  • behave violently towards you?
  • stop you seeing your friends or family?
  • keep your money?
  • harm you or make you feel you could be seriously harmed?

If the answer to some of these questions is yes you might be experiencing domestic abuse.

How we can help

You can contact us and speak with a housing options advisor about how we can help you. To make an appointment call 01539 793 199 during office hours or in an emergency call our out of office hours number on 0870 428 6905. Charges may apply.

The Housing Options Service confirms whatever you discuss with us will always remain completely confidential.

Support in South Lakeland

Springfield Hostel: refuge accommodation and a community support service for people affected by domestic abuse.

Victim Support: Cumbria: specialist support and assistance for people in Cumbria who are experiencing domestic abuse and/or sexual abuse or who have experienced it in the past.

The Birchall Trust: counselling service that provides free one to one weekly sessions to male and females of all ages who have experienced rape or sexual abuse in South Cumbria.

Cumbria County Council domestic abuse support: advice for people who are or have been affected by domestic abuse. 

Nationwide support

National Domestic Violence Helpline: support and advice for woman experiencing domestic abuse. You can talk confidentially to someone about your situation and to find out what your options are.

Womens aid: can also provide advice and support.

Respect Men's Advice Line: helpline and online services for men experiencing domestic abuse.

Galop: operate the National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse helpline and online services.   

Samaritans: online support services and helpline if you feel in despair and want someone to listen to you.

Call the police on 999 if:

  • your personal safety is threatened
  • you are at risk of assault or injury
  • in an emergency

Leaving home immediately

If you have to leave your property immediately we may place you in temporary accommodation while we look at what options are available to you depending on your circumstances.

Not everyone is entitled to emergency accommodation so you may wish to look at other options such as staying with friends or relatives while you think about what to do next or try to find a place in a refuge.

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/credit cards and mobile phone.

Don't make a decision to give up your home permanently until you have spoken to an adviser and considered all your options.

Get homelessness help

You can apply to our Housing Options Service as a homeless person if you can't stay in your home.

We have to give you advice about finding somewhere to live. Some people are entitled to emergency accommodation. 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. You can take a friend or an adviser with you for support.

Contact Civil Legal Advice on 0345 345 4 345 if you are entitled to legal aid.

Shelter: local services provides contact details for advisors in your area.

Help from social services/children's services

Some people may be entitled to help from the council's social services department. Social services might be able to help if you:

  • are elderly
  • have children living with you
  • are under the age of 18
  • have left care (or about to do so)
  • are in poor health
  • have a physical or learning disability

Social services may be able to help by finding accommodation for you, paying for a deposit or providing financial support.

There are no rules about the kind of help social services have to provide.

Refuges for women

Women experiencing domestic abuse may be able to stay 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.

National Domestic Abuse Helpline can provide more information about refuges.

Refuges for men

If you are a man who has to leave home because of domestic abuse, you can make a homeless application to our Housing Options team.

There is limited specialist housing for men experiencing domestic abuse.

To check what help is available contact:

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.

The Hide Out provides information about children, young people and domestic abuse and violence.