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26 Domestic Violence, Abuse and Harassment
3. Practical things to do if you are being abused
The first thing is to make sure that you and any children are safe. If you need protection during a violent incident, call the police on 999. If you are using a mobile phone, tell the operator where you are immediately, because they cannot find out by tracing your call. The police have a duty to protect you and any children and make sure you are safe. They may arrest your partner. They may go with you to a safe place if you need to leave the home so as to be safe. They can tell you about emergency housing and refuges.
If you want help from the police at some point after you were abused, you can ring your local police station (their number is in the phone book) and ask to speak to the community safety officer (sometimes called the domestic violence officer), who will be able to advise you what to do. See also 'What the police can do for you'.
You may have to leave your home for a few days to go to a safe place, while you sort out your legal position. You will not lose your rights to the home if you do this. For help and advice, call the confidential 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline -see 'Further help' for details.
If you have been abused in the past, or you think you are going to be abused, you may be able to make a planned escape and leave with money, clothes and other things you will need. The things you should take on a planned escape are:
Sometimes it is safer just to get out of the home with whatever you can grab. Don't panic; make sure you are safe first. The things you will need to sort out are described on the following pages.
What if I have to leave the children?
What if I have been injured during the abuse?
What should I do about money?
How can I find somewhere to live?
Most areas also have women's refuges that offer temporary housing to women and their children. You do not have to have children to be able to stay there. Some are especially for women from a particular background or ethnic group. The staff in a refuge will give you advice and support and help you work out what to do next. You will be able to stay there until you can find somewhere safe to live. Refuges do not print their addresses or phone numbers for safety reasons. To find out about refuges near you, call the National Domestic Violence Helpline -see 'Further help' for more information.
Getting your things from home
Dealing with drink and drugs
This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Imogen Clout, a solicitor specialising in family law.
Leaflet version: July 2019
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