Whether it’s sorting out a new place to live, finding new school places for your children or working out how you will support yourself financially, there are a lot of questions and concerns women may have once they have taken the brave step to leave an abuser. At Central Women’s Aid, we can help you work through this and put you in touch with the right people to make the process as easy as possible.
Additionally, we provide ongoing emotional support to help you through what can be a tough period of time, to help you process your experiences and move on.
What help am I entitled to?
You don’t need to struggle alone: there is help available to you.
If you leave your home because of domestic abuse and you are fearful to return, the local authority may have a duty to help you1. Guidelines set out for local authorities2 mean that they consider domestic abuse as including coercive or controlling behaviour, threatening behaviour, violence or other types of abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) and that local authorities cannot require proof of domestic abuse before they will act.
The duties of the local authority vary depending on whether you meet certain criteria, which are that you:
- are unintentionally homeless
- are in priority need
- are eligible
You can get more information here or contact your local authority housing office. The local authority will then have a duty to investigate your case.
1 Under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 (HA1996) and the Homelessness Act 2002
2 The Homelessness Code of Guidance 2006
Benefits you could be entitled to may include:
- Housing benefit
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Universal Credit
- Discretionary Housing Payments
- Migrant partner support – Destitution Domestic Violence (DDV) concession
- Destitution Domestic Violence (DDV) concession
For more information on all of the above please visit the Department of Work and Pensions website.
How can Central Women’s Aid help?
We provide emergency accommodation for women and children escaping domestic abuse. We also provide support and activities for women and children in our accommodation and courses in the community that directly empower women and help them process their experiences .
We can put you in touch with various agencies to provide any additional help or support you might need. Give us a call to discuss how we can help.
What other help is available?
Women’s Aid have published a ‘Survivor’s Handbook‘ which touches on many of the questions and concerns women who have left an abusive relationship experience. It is available (abridged) in a number of languages and also as an audio file.
Some people also find it helpful to use online forums such as the Women’s Aid Survivor’s Forum, which provide a safe and anonymous space for women to share their experiences and support one another.
Remember: you are not alone
Central Women’s Aid has helped many women and children escape from abuse. Read about some of the women we have helped on our impact page.