I'm leaving but I don't know where to live

Your priority is to get to safety. This may mean that you’ll need to stay somewhere for a short time until you can sort out something long-term.

You have some options:

  • stay with friends or family
  • get a place in a refuge
  • contact your local council for emergency housing
  • rent or buy somewhere yourself

Friends and family

You may know someone who can put you up for a while, preferably where your abuser will not look for you. Try not to tell anyone who might give away your location.

For more information on making preparations to leave, see Leaving an abusive relationship.

Stay in a refuge

A refuge is a safe place for you (and your children) to stay in an emergency.

If there's a place for you, you'll usually get it on the day you call. You can’t book ahead.

Call the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 for help with finding a place in a refuge.

They often try to find something in a different area from your abuser. The staff should be able to help you take the next steps to finding a more permanent home, too.

If a refuge space isn't available to you, you'll be referred to other services who can help.

Talk to your local council

If you’ve fled home for your safety, the local council may consider you to be legally homeless.

As someone experiencing domestic abuse, you’ll be considered a priority case – even if you’ve fled to a different council area from the one you’ve been living in.

Councils should find you emergency accommodation if you're homeless, in priority need and eligible.

You may not be eligible, for example, if you don’t have the right to stay permanently in the UK because of your immigration status.

Once you're housed, the council can then help you find something longer-term in another council or housing association property, or perhaps supporting you to rent your own place.

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