Domestic abuse and violence

Blurred Walking Crowd In The StreetWhat is domestic violence?

A man or woman is the victim of domestic violence if their partner subjects them to physical, psychological, sexual, financial or emotional abuse. Physical abuse can include hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects, violence (battery) or the threat of violence (assault).

What should I do if my partner is abusing me?

If your partner lives with you, you can leave your home temporarily or relocate permanently. Should you wish to remain, you can also request that your partner leave.

If you cannot find short-term suitable accommodation, you could:

  • stay in a women’s refuge (if you are a woman with or without children)
  • ask for emergency accommodation from the local authority, which is usually a bed and breakfast hostel

You can also contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or visit

You should also report the abuse to the police as soon as possible

How can the court protect me or my children from an abusive partner? 

An occupation order will temporarily end any rights your partner has to stay in the property (or accessing part of it) where you and your children are living. Depending on the type of order granted, it could go as far as prohibiting him or her from visiting the neighbourhood.  

A non-molestation order will temporarily and specifically prohibit your partner from abusing or harassing you or your children. If your partner breaches a non-molestation order, you should call the police right away, and he or she could face up to five years in prison.

A restraining order is meant to tell the person who abused you to leave you and your children alone. It can last for one year from the date the judge signed it, but you can renew it. If the judge believes you are still in danger, the order will be renewed for another year. If someone breaches a restraining order, you must call the police immediately. Violating a restraining order is a criminal offence; a person can be jailed, fined or put on probation for doing so.

Is there any financial support if I have been a victim of domestic violence?

You may be exempt from the usual work-related criteria when claiming Universal Credit [Welfare Guide] for 13 weeks, so that you can recover from your ordeal without the pressure of going to work. You must:

  • inform Jobcentre Plus about the violence you experienced within six months of it taking place
  • provide sufficient evidence of the abuse, no later than a month after you have told the Jobcentre
  • not live in the same property as the abusive partner

The 13-week period starts from the date on which you tell Jobcentre Plus about the violence.

Criminal offence

Your abuser can be arrested by the police if they have been violently abusing you or physically assaulting you as this is a crime. They will be taken to a police station and an investigation will begin, during the investigation it is inevitable that you as the victim will need to assist the police.

There is a chance the abuser will be sentenced to prison if the abuse has been on-going or particularly violent. If the abuser is not locked up it is likely that an injunction will be taken out to protect the victim.

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