Domestic abuse & housing

Domestic Abuse

The Home Office describes domestic abuse as "any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality". 

Help from the police

The police can provide practical help and advice, and there are officers who deal specifically with cases of domestic violence.  They are trained to assist and will consider your safety and wellbeing as their first priority.  If you wish, you can meet personally with a member of the domestic violence team.  The time and place of the meeting can be arranged to suit you.

For more information on the local help and support available please visit: 

In an emergency, always dial 999.

Clare's Law - Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme

On 8 March 2014, across England and Wales, all Police forces launched the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, also known as Clare's Law.  This scheme enables members of the public to have a "Right to ask" police if their current partner poses a risk to them in terms of their history of domestic abuse.

The scheme also enables professionals to raise a "Right to know" request through the police where they feel a person may be at risk of domestic abuse by an individual whose criminal history is unknown to the partner, but where they have some reasonable concern/knowledge about the individual's past.

A right to ask can also be made by a third person e.g. a parent/relative/friend who is concerned.  In these cases if a disclosure is to be made, it will only be made to the person who needs to know i.e. the victim.

For more information please:

Help from the Housing team

If you need help and advice please contact Housing Services on 01993 861000.

Each case is different.  We will offer you an appointment with a housing advisor to talk privately about your situation. You are welcome to bring a friend or support worker along with you. All information will be treated in confidence.

The advice and assistance that we offer will depend on your wishes, and whether you wish to leave your current home or discuss what options are available. Information may include the following:

  • Your rights of occupation
  • Injunctions available
  • Assistance with referral to Thames Valley Domestic Violence unit for further advice and support
  • Referral to a support worker at Oxfordshire Women's Aid
  • Referral to West Oxfordshire Domestic Violence outreach worker
  • Access to alternative accommodation

What if I am homeless?

If you are homeless, we will offer you an appointment with a Housing advisor to talk about your situation in private. They will:

  • Help you to complete a homeless application
  • Arrange a place of safety, this may be a refuge, but may also be emergency accommodation
  • Advise you of your legal rights
  • Let you know what help the Council can offer by nominating you for rehousing by a Housing Association

Making an appointment

If you are homeless, threatened with homelessness, or just want advice, you should contact:

Refuges

Women's refuges

A refuge is a safe house where women who are experiencing domestic abuse can live free from violence.  If you have children, you can take them with you.  Some refuges are small houses.  You can choose to travel as far from, or stay as near to, your present home as you want.  Some refuges are specifically for women from particular ethnic and cultural backgrounds - for example, Black, Asian or South American - and many refuges have disabled access and workers who can assist women who have special needs.

Men's refuges

There is no emergency refuge provision in Oxfordshire but we can put you in contact with hostels that may be able to provide accommodation.  We may also be able to secure temporary accommodation on your behalf.

Children

It is emotionally damaging for children to live in a home where there is domestic abuse. People experiencing domestic abuse often worry what will happen to their children if they disclose it to someone. You will be supported to ensure that they are protected from the effects. There is help for you and your children to be safe and reduce the risk.

Staying safe online

If you do not want anyone to know that you have visited this page or any other domestic violence websites, please follow the steps below to clear the computer's history:

Internet Explorer

  • Click the Tools menu and select Internet Options
  • On General page, under Browsing history, click Delete
  • Tick the box next to Delete browsing history on exit and click Apply.

Google Chrome

  • Click the Chrome menu on the browser toolbar
  • Select Tools
  • Select Clear browsing data
  • In the box that appears, click the boxes for the types of information that you want to remove
  • Use the menu at the top to select the amount of data that you want to delete. Select beginning of time to delete everything
  • Click Clear browsing data.

Firefox

  • At the top of the Firefox window, click on the Firefox button and then select Options
  • Select the Advanced panel
  • Click on the Network tab
  • In the Cached Web Content section, click Clear Now.

West Oxfordshire District Council
Elmfield
New Yatt Road
Witney
OX28 1PB