Domestic abuse

Are you being threatened or abused by a relative, partner or ex-partner? Do you feel that you have no choice but to live with the abuse? Have they told you that there is nothing you can do, nowhere you can go, or that they will find you if you try to leave?

There is no excuse for domestic abuse and you can get help to stop it.

What is domestic abuse?

It is where you are being abused by someone you have a relationship with (or have had a relationship with in the past). This includes:

  • your husband, wife or partner;
  • your parents or step-parents;
  • other family members (for example, grandparents, in-laws, brothers or sisters); or
  • your children.

You can be abused whether you are a man or a woman. Abuse doesn’t just mean someone hitting you. It can also be:

  • verbal abuse;
  • threats;
  • sexual abuse;
  • isolating you from your friends and family;
  • taking away your money;
  • not allowing you money; or
  • damaging your home or belongings.

Domestic abuse is a serious crime. You don’t have to live with it.

What can I do?

The law can seem complicated but do not be put off asking for help. This is a quick guide to what you can do to protect yourself and your family. You can talk to a member of our support services for more advice on what to do and your legal rights. They will listen to you without judging you or thinking badly of you. All information you share will be kept confidential.

You can also talk to any of the other organisations mentioned here. However, please remember that if anyone thinks that your child or children are at risk due to the situation, they have a duty in law to contact statutory services. Should this be the case then you will be fully informed that this is happening and why.

Can the law help me?

The law has changed. It is now easier for you to get help and protection from domestic abuse. You can get information about this from a solicitor, the police, Citizens Advice, victim support or a member of our support services.

Domestic abuse is a crime which the police take very seriously. Their first priority is your safety and wellbeing. They will help you if you want to press charges.

You can still get help from other agencies even if you do not want to report it to the police.

Can I leave my home?

If you are suffering from domestic abuse and do not feel safe in your home there are steps that can be taken to make you feel more secure. However, if you do wish to leave your home we can help provide you with information on how to do so.

Moving into temporary accommodation

If you need to move quickly, you can contact us. We can provide you with information on temporary accommodation and may be able to help you access a place of safety.

Your local council

They may have a legal duty to provide alternative housing options if you are suffering from domestic abuse. They will look at your individual situation before deciding whether to do this. They will also work with you to find you a permanent new home – if it is required for your ongoing, long term safety.

Women’s Aid

This is a national network of organisations providing a wide range of advice and support. They can work with the refuge and other specialist domestic abuse services in your area to help support you.


This is an organisation for men who are suffering from domestic abuse. They can give you support and help find you a place of safety.

There are other specialist organisations and refuges for people of different religions and cultures. Please contact us (details below) for more information about these services.

Housing Benefit and temporary accommodation

You can claim Housing Benefit for both your home and your temporary accommodation for up to one year, as long as you plan to return to your home within 52 weeks. There is support available to help you receive what you are entitled to if you have to leave your home. Any refuge or domestic abuse support worker will help you plan these things. The council will also be able to give you information. Please do not end your tenancy without seeking advice first – you can leave your home with out ending your tenancy. Domestic abuse

Moving to another home

If you want to move to another home we may be able to give you access to another property if your safety is at risk. If we are unable to do this or it is not suitable for your situation you can receive support to make a housing application. Please speak to us to find out more.

Can I move if I am not the tenant or if I have a joint tenancy?

If you are not the tenant, you can still access a place of safety. You can then make a housing application in your own right. If you have children you may be able to get legal help to remove the abusive person from the home so that you and the children can remain – if this is what you choose to do, a solicitor will be able to help you.

What if my home is damaged?

If your home is deliberately damaged, it is usually up to you to pay for repairs. If your abuser damages your home, you should talk to your housing officer, as you may not have to pay for the repairs. We may ask you to report the incident to the police.

What if I owe you rent?

You are still able to receive help for your situation, this includes accessing a place of safety. You will be able to get support to help you manage anything to do with your tenancy.

How will I manage with money and benefits?

You can claim benefits if you leave an abusive partner, even if you are working there may be some extra benefits you can access. The important thing is to ask for help early.

Phone numbers

Please get in touch with us as soon as possible so that we can try to help you.

If you need help and it is an emergency and you are at risk please phone 999.

Other organisations you can call are listed below:

GDASS (Gloucester Domestic Abuse Support Services) - 01452 726 570

Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline - 0800 731 0055 

Wiltshire Council - 0300 456 0100

Swindon Borough Council - 01793 445503

Police Contact via the central telephone number - 0845 408 7000/Non-emergency: 101/Emergency: 999

Wiltshire Domestic Abuse Support Services - 01225 775276/Out of hours 01225 712880

Wiltshire Social Services - 01380 826200/Out of hours: 0845 607 0888

Swindon Social Services - 01793 466903/Out of hours: 01793 436699

Gloucester Social Services - 01452 426565/Out of hours: 01452 614194

Oxford Social Services - 0845 050 7666/Out of hours: 0800 833 408

Women’s Aid Helpline (24 hours) - 0808 2000 247

Mankind (support for men suffering domestic violence) - 0870 794 4124

Broken Rainbow LGBT helpline - 0300 999 5428; Monday and Thursday 10am-8pm/Tuesday and Wednesday 10am-5pm

Your doctor, health visitor or solicitor should also be able to help you.

Non-emergency help - Refuge Support Service

We provide a place of safety - short-term emergency accommodation for women, with or without children, who are fleeing domestic abuse.

Useful numbers

  • GreenSquareAccord (out-of-hours referrals can also be made on this number) - 0300 111 7000
  • Women’s Aid Helpline (24hrs) - 0808 200 0247
  • Wiltshire Domestic Abuse Support Services - 01225 775276
  • Police (non-emergency) 101 Police emergency 999
  • Social Services (emergency duty service) - 0845 607 0888
  • Wiltshire Council - 0300 456 0100
  • North Wiltshire Refuges - 01249 714873
  • Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service - 0845 602 9035

Referral process and criteria

As part of the referral process an individual’s circumstances will be assessed to establish if the service can meet their support needs.

  • Referrals can be made by any agency / professional or by the woman herself.
  • Women referred must be at risk of domestic abuse from either a partner, ex-partner or family member, and have no access to any other safe accommodation.
  • Referrals where there is no recourse to public funds will be considered dependent on funding available for accommodation and sustenance.
  • Families with a male child up to the age of 16 years will be considered.

Click here for information about the women's refuge in Wiltshire.

Click here for more information about Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service (GDASS).

Other Areas

If you are looking for support in another area, you can call the National Domestic Violence Helpline (24 hours) on 0808 2000 247 or visit the Women's Aid website who have a 'services in your area' page.

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