Overview

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What is domestic violence? 

Domestic violence is any threatening behaviour, violence or abuse that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and forms a pattern of controlling behaviour, including:

  • physical, sexual, psychological or financial abuse  
  • forced marriage  
  • honour based violence 
  • female genital mutilation  
  • forced sex work

Find out about our campaigns to tackle domestic violence and abuse.

Talk to someone

Camden Safety Net

Use this confidential service if you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse of any kind and you live, work or study in the borough of Camden.

You can talk to one of our advisors, who will work with you to help keep you safe and discuss your options.

We can assist with referrals to appropriate solicitors, law centres and action you may wish to take.

In an emergency always call 999. To talk to someone in confidence:

Contact Camden Safety Net

Indicators of abuse

Domestic abuse isn’t just physical. As well as physical violence, it can include emotional, psychological, sexual and financial abuse, along with coercive or controlling behaviour. 

  • Are you being hurt physically? Physical abuse can mean anything from slaps, pushes, kicks, blows, shaking, strangulation, and ultimately, murder. Are you scared, threatened or bullied by your partner or family member? Do you find yourself ’walking on egg shells’ when you are around them?
  • Do they ever destroy or damage your property?
  • Do they put you down frequently, isolate you, threaten to harm you or harass you such as nasty phone calls or stalking?
  • Do they threaten to take your children away from you?
  • Do they constantly belittle or humiliate you?
  • Are you ever forced to have sex, hurt sexually, or asked to do sexual acts that you don't want to do?
  • Are you threatened with harm if you were to ever leave?
  • Do they control your finances?

Indicators of an abuser

Abuse includes using anger as a control tool as well as being physically violent towards your partner.

  • Are you abusive to your partner or spouse?
  • Do you hit, push, choke, kick, hold them against their will or do any act against your partner that results in any injury in any form?
  • Do you ever threaten to hurt them (hold a fist to their head) or threaten to kill them?
  • Do you destroy property when you're angry?
  • Do you tell your partner that they are worthless or stupid?
  • Do you call your partner names, and tell them that they are having sex with other people?
  • Do you act in a jealous and possessive way, accusing them and making them account for their daily activities?
  • Do you tell them they are  a useless parent and threaten to take the children away from them?
  • Do you withhold money from them and make them account for every penny they spend?
  • Domestic abuse can mean a lot of things - you can use words or actions or both.

Housing support

If you want or need to leave home, find out about the housing support available. 

Stay with family and friends

This may be a safe option and give you some support. It is possible that your abuser will guess where you are and this may only be a short term solution. If you live in social housing, you must tell your landlord that you're unable to stay in your home as soon as possible.

Go to a women’s refuge

You can get a space in a refuge by calling the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline on 0808 2000 247. Refuges are safe houses for women and children who are escaping domestic violence. Help will be available on matters such as:

  • welfare rights
  • legal issues 
  • accommodation options

Refuge addresses are confidential to ensure the safety of those who live there. Refuges accept all women, with or without children. Some do not take boys over 12. You can find out more about refuges, visit the Refuge website

Emergency accommodation from a council

All councils have a legal duty to give advice and help to homeless people. If you’re too frightened to stay in Camden you can contact another council

Contact us for homelessness advice 

As you’ve left your home due to violence, you will not be intentionally homeless. If you’re rehoused by a council, you’ll probably have to spend time in a bed and breakfast or hostel before you're rehoused permanently.

If you’re a council tenant, you can contact your housing officer. They will provide advice on your options such as:

  • alarms
  • neighbour support network
  • mobile patrol
  • injunctions

Contact your housing officer

If you would still be in danger you can apply to transfer to another home in Camden or another borough. You will be given a high priority as long as you’re a council tenant and you’re:

  • in temporary accommodation (including a refuge)
  • staying with friends
  • staying in your home 

If you leave your home due to domestic violence, we would like to remove your abuser from the property. To do this we need your agreement as you will be required to attend court to give evidence of the violence you have suffered.

Renting privately

If you decide to find somewhere to rent privately, you may be able to get Housing Benefit

Getting control of your present home

Under the Family Law Act 1996 you can apply to the courts to have your abuser removed from your present home. This is called an Occupation Order. Whether or not you decide to do this will depend on how safe you feel you may be in your home. If you’re getting divorced, jointly-owned property will be sorted out as part of the divorce settlement. This may take a long time so you may wish to make alternative arrangements in the meantime.

Making your home safe

If you wish to remain in your home but are fearful because of security and safety issues, you can contact the Safehome Project. This service is for anyone living in Camden who is as risk of homelessness due to domestic violence.

Financial advice

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new benefit for people of working age who are working and on a low income, or are out of work. It is a benefit administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and not by your local council.

Find out more about universal credit

Sure Start Maternity Grant

If you are pregnant and the child is expected within 11 weeks or have just had a baby you may be entitled to a Maternity Grant.

Find out more about the Sure Start Maternity Grant

Housing Benefit

If you’re on a low income and pay rent for the property you live in, you may be able to get housing benefit to help with rent. You can apply for housing benefit, or continue to claim housing benefit, if one of the following applies to you:
•    have more than 2 children
•    live in supported accommodation
•    live in temporary accommodation provided by a Council
•    are of Pension Credit age
•    are a severely disabled person
•    live in the Kentish Town Job Plus Centre area*

*Universal Credit will be available in the Kentish Town area from December 2018. Until then, you should claim housing benefit.

If nothing in the above list applies to you, please apply for Universal Credit instead.

Council Tax reduction

If you are married or co-habiting, you are jointly liable for your abusers Council Tax. If you separate or maintain separate lives within the same house please inform the Council Tax team.
Your Council Tax bill can be reduced in a number of ways:
•    Council Tax Reduction - if you are on a low income and have less than £16,000 in savings/capital
•    Single Person Reduction - if you are the sole adult in the household
•    Disability Reduction - if your home is used by a person with disabilities (certain conditions apply)
•    Other reductions depending on your circumstances i.e living in temporary accommodation. Please note there is no public register for Council Tax, so you do not have to worry that your partner will be able to find you by this method.

Find out more about Council Tax discounts and exemptions

Child Maintenance

Child maintenance is financial support towards your child’s everyday living costs when you’ve separated from the other parent.

You and your ex-partner can arrange child maintenance yourself if you can agree. This is called a ‘family-based arrangement’. A family-based arrangement is a private way to sort out child maintenance. Parents arrange everything themselves and no-one else has to be involved.

If you cannot agree, you will need to apply for Child Maintenance with the Child Maintenance Service.

Your child maintenance payments might be affected if you’re claiming Universal Credit.

Find out more about Child Maintenance

Bank Accounts

If you have joint bank accounts or credit cards, you should inform the relevant bank or financial institution that you have separated and ask them to remove your name from the account. This will stop you being responsible for any bills or overdrafts your abuser may incur.

If you leave your home and bills are in your name e.g. gas or telephone, remember that you should immediately inform the relevant authority that you no longer live at that address.

Health and wellbeing

Your health and wellbeing may be impacted by living in an environment of domestic abuse. 

We support health practitioners and their patients with referrals, resources and training sessions, to reduce the pressure on practitioners. 

We also work alongside Solace Women’s Aid to deliver the IRIS (Identification & Referral to Improve Safety) model to GP surgeries across Camden.

Specialist domestic abuse advisors are based in Royal Free Hospital and University College London, to help decrease  repeat visits of injured patients to the hospitals and ensure the health needs of people experiencing domestic abuse are addressed as early as possible.