In order to free themselves from a violent or abusive partner women and children are often forced to leave their home and their possessions. This adds to an already traumatic situation where the woman may feel that she is losing control of what is happening to her and her family and is fearful of what the future will hold. The thought of dealing with the implications of a life changing decision such as leaving an abusive partner can be enough to put many women off leaving, choosing instead the familiar option of remaining with the partner and keeping a roof over their heads, regardless of how unpleasant and possibly dangerous it can be. However, women do not need to deal with these difficulties on their own. When a woman is referred to Women’s Aid or she contacts Women’s Aid herself, we can provide practical and emotional support what ever her situation is.
There are several housing options for women to consider at this difficult time. We can provide support to help women find out what their individual options are and assist them in making an informed choice for them and for their children.
Where there are sufficient grounds, it may be possible through legal remedies for the woman to have her former partner excluded from the family home, so that she and her children can remain or move back in. This legal process can be instigated while the woman is living at an alternative address like bed and breakfast accommodation or Women’s Aid refuge accommodation.
If a woman does not live with her former partner but he continues to harass her, as well as considering legal advice and possibly legal action to keep him away, the woman can explore the possibility of a transfer of house if she has a council or a housing association tenancy.
In some circumstances it may not be an option to remain in the family home or to take legal action to exclude her former partner and to reoccupy the home. She may have to move from the neighbourhood altogether or move to a different part of the country in order to start again somewhere safe. Women’s Aid has refuges across the UK, and we can make contact with other Women’s Aid groups to identify options based on individual needs.
A woman with or without children who is suffering domestic abuse who had to leave her accommodation as a result of this is entitled to go to her local authority for advice and assistance. In some circumstances if a family is identified as homeless and at serious risk if they remain in the local area, the local authority may be able to arrange for a woman and her children to be referred to different local authority for housing. We can support women through the homelessness process.
Some women might prefer to look for private rented accommodation to give them more choice regarding where they wish to live, and Inverness Women’s Aid can assist with finding housing and also with accessing housing benefit.
It is essential that women receive the correct legal and housing advice at this time to support them to make the right choices for themselves and their children. We can help women to achieve this and be there at all stages of the process to ensure that the woman’s voice is heard.
Useful housing telephone numbers-Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey:
Highland Council out of hours emergency housing line Phone 0845 7002005
Highland Council Area Housing and Property Offices
for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey:
- 21/23 Church Street Inverness IV1 1DY Phone 01349 886602
- The Court House Nairn IV12 4AU Phone 01667 458510
- Ruthven Road Kingussie PH21 1EJ Phone 01540 664510
Albyn Housing Society Ltd. Phone 01463 712516
Cairn Housing Association Ltd. Phone 01463 220666
There are other housing associations for specific client groups and further information is available from the Highland Council Housing and Property Offices or by contacting Inverness Women’s Aid for advice.