Domestic violence and abuse within the home


If you are living with a person who is violent or threatening to you or your children, you may need to leave home, at least temporarily, in order to protect yourself.

Where can I go?

You may be able to stay temporarily with a friend or relative.

If not, or if you fear the violent person might follow you there then we will talk to you about your options and signpost to relevant refuges, if appropriate.

What is a women’s refuge?

  • A women’s refuge is a safe house where women/men and children who are experiencing domestic violence can stay for a short time. Many are able to offer confidential counselling and information over the phone and if necessary emergency accommodation, day or night, 7 days a week.
    The address is kept as secret as possible, to protect those who stay there.

  • Some have self-contained units, but most give you your own rooms, but other spaces (eg living room, kitchen) will be shared with other refuge residents.

  • The refuge workers will offer support and advice on how to claim benefits and find a Solicitor, and you will be able to meet other individuals who have had similar experiences.
    You can call the free phone national domestic violence helpline on 0808 2000 247.

What if I cannot go to a refuge and do not have any friends or relatives who can accommodate me?

If you need urgent help you can contact a Housing Options Officer at Cornwall Housing.

Are there any alternatives to leaving my property?

If you are experiencing physical violence/abuse within the home, you should always consult a Solicitor who specialises in Family Law and get legal advice. You may be able to claim legal advice and assistance through public funding to help you with the costs of this. Your Solicitor will advise you that it may be possible to get a Court Order, known as an Injunction, against the person you live with. An injunction can do a number of things. It can order the violent person:

  1. Not to assault or harass you (a Non Molestation Order).
  2. Not to assault any children living with you.
  3. To leave the house (an Occupation Order).
  4. To keep a certain distance away from your home or any other place where you go regularly, such as your work.
  5. To let you back into your home, if you have been forced out (an Occupation Order).

Some orders may contain specific instructions such as the power of arrest. If the abuser breaks the injunction they are in contempt of Court, and can be brought back to Court to face a judge who can vary the order to make it more effective or even sentence the person to a term of imprisonment. If you are assaulted or threatened, you can always call the Police who will be able to assist you.

Sanctuary Scheme

The scheme provides victims of domestic violence and hate crime a way to stay safe in their home and stop them from becoming homeless. The scheme provides victims with improved home security.

If you are interested in the ‘Sanctuary scheme’, refer to The Cornwall Sanctuary Scheme’ leaflet.

If I lose the rights to my property will the Council re-house me?

Under the Housing Act 1996 Part VII, (Homelessness) the Council has a duty to provide advice and assistance and if necessary temporary accommodation to persons who it is considered have suffered or are at risk of physical violence/abuse.

A Housing Options Officer will consider your individual circumstances and provide you with the appropriate confidential advice and assistance.

Under the Homelessness Legislation, a person must do everything reasonably possible to retain their property. Consequently, you should not voluntarily give up the rights to your home as it could seriously jeopardise any application you make under the homeless persons legislation if you do.

Useful telephone numbers

0300 7774 777
(opening times Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm Domestic Abuse Service providing support, advice and information across Cornwall)

Mid Cornwall
01872 225629
Cornwall Women’s Refuge Trust

West Cornwall
01736 367539
West Cornwall Women’s Aid

East Cornwall
01208 79992
Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre

Other useful numbers

Police Domestic Violence Unit
08452 777 444 or in an emergency call 999

Free Legal Advice Line for Women
020 7251 6577

Women’s Aid National Helpline
0808 2000 247

Victim Support Helpline
0845 056 7999

Samaritans 24 hour Helpline
08457 909090

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
03444 99 41 88

Esteem (support for male victims)
08453 887 323

Broken Rainbow (DV advice for lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender)
0300 999 5428

Male DV Advice Line (Victim Support)
0800 328 3623

Further information

For further information, or if you have any questions, simply contact us using one of the options on our contact us page.

If you have a housing emergency where there is an immediate risk of losing your accommodation, call our out of hours emergency number: 0300 1234 161.

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