Planning To Leave

You can get help in deciding what to do and finding alternative accommodation (temporary or permanent) from Women's Aid in LutonStepping Stones, Victim Support, and the other agencies listed below.

Consider where you would want to move to – do you want to stay in Luton, remain in the county or move out of area totally?

If you decide to leave you will need to plan ahead as much as possible.  The agencies listed at the bottom of this page can give you advice and help you identify a safe place to go to, and the Women’s Aid Survivors Handbook has a lot of vital information and is available in a range of languages including Arabic, Bengali, Polish, Somali, Turkish and Urdu.

In your planning :

  • Try to leave when your abuser is not at home (unless your life is at risk)
  • Make preparations with care
  • Try not to involve any children in the preparations or anyone else who may accidentally tell your abuser
  • If you are prevented from leaving or you are at risk, dial 999
  • If it is safe to do so, ask a friend or relative to help you leave
  • Keep an emergency bag for yourself and your children and make sure it is somewhere safe (at a neighbour’s or friend’s house)
  • Keep some money on you at all times to use for bus fares/public telephones
  • Decide what to do with family pets. If you can't take them with you consider getting them fostered or cared for by friends or family.

Consider what you need to take with you (and only take what is absolutely necessary).  This could include:

  • Identification
  • Passport(s), visas and work permits
  • Money, bankbooks, credit/debit cards
  • Keys for house, car and workplace (have a spare set cut)
  • Cards for payment of benefits
  • Driving licence and car registration documents
  • Prescribed medication
  • Documentation regarding your housing tenure, insurance etc
  • NI no
  • Address book
  • Items with sentimental value – diary, jewellery, photos
  • Your children’s favourite small toys
  • Clothing and toiletries for yourself and your children
  • Any documentation relating to the abuse

Once you have left, consider who it is safe to tell that you have left (you do not have to say why).  Some people have extensive networks of friends and families; try to cut out everyone who can tell your abuser where you are.  If you are getting support from an organisation or agency, they may be able to give you information on similar services to give you support where you are moving to.

Vulnerable Adults

If you are disabled, elderly or have mental health issues, and are experiencing domestic abuse, please contact the Safeguarding Adults team who can help you.

Asylum Seekers

If you have claimed asylum and the decision is still pending or if you are an asylum seeker when the abuse takes place, you should contact the UK Border Agency for advice. If you are the dependent of an asylum seeker, you need to seek legal advice urgently.  Locally, please contact Victim Support or Luton All Women's Centre. The Southall Black Sisters website also has information, as does the Women’s Aid Survivors Handbook.

Legal Aid

Women's Aid in Luton and Luton All Women’s Centre can give legal advice, as well as Victim Support and the National Domestic Violence Helpline. The Women’s Aid’s Survivors Handbook also has information.  The Ministry of Justice has a page regarding Legal Aid for those divorcing through domestic violence, sharing the money or property and child contact – evidence of domestic abuse will be required.

Pets

You may need temporary accommodation for any pets you wish to take with you. There are many animal charities who can offer help to re-home your pet or provide advice about temporary accommodation. Locally, the Luton Dog Warden Service is happy to provide advice or assistance on all aspects of dog ownership and may be able to help if you have no friends or relatives who could take your pet in. Alternatively get in touch with the RSCPA PetRetreat service or Wood Green Liberty Project (Pet Fostering) who may also be able to assist; a small donation towards costs is requested.

Booklets

Women’s Aid Survivors Handbook

DA Triage Service

The Victim Support DA Triage Service will accept referrals for any client over the age of 16, regardless of gender or background and will provide support whether or not the incidents have been reported to the Police. The service will carry out a needs assessment to identify individual requirements for support or assistance with issues arising from domestic abuse and aim to make referrals direct to local sources of support or advice. Contact Jenny (Team Leader) for more info or to refer send to: lutonda.triage@victimsupport.cjsm.net

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Migrant Help

Migrant Help have over 50 years of knowledge and experience of giving advice and support to vulnerable migrants in the UK.

Citizen’s Advice

We provide free, confidential and impartial advice on a range of issue including relationship, money, benefit, housing or employment problems. Search for local centre on-line.

Broken Rainbow LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline

National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans* (LGBT) Domestic Violence Helpline provides confidential support to all members of the LGBT communities, their family, friends, and agencies supporting them. The helpline is run by specialist trained operators and provides a space where you can talk through what is going on, and explore your options.

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Luton Law Centre

Luton Law Centre is not-for-profit legal practice which gives professional, confidential legal advice and assistance. They are a member of the Law Centres Network (LCN) and Advice UK. They work closely with other organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and Luton Rights. Call for advice on a range of issues or to make an appointment. Luton Law Centre 6th Floor Cresta House Alma Street Luton LU1 2PL

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Polish Domestic Violence Helpline

Nowe Życie Bez Przemocy (A new life without violence) is a Polish website with information for victims of domestic violence living in the UK. The main purpose of the helpline is to provide Polish people who experience domestic violence with a confidential contact, which will allow them to talk about their situation in their native language and to obtain information about available help and support. It co-operates with English and Polish organisations and support groups with the aim of referring victims to them. The line is currently open on Tuesdays 10.00 - 12.00 and 13.00 - 15.00 and Wednesdays from 10.00 to 16.00

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National Stalking Helpline

The National Stalking Helpline responds to nearly 3,000 victims of stalking each year. A small team of highly trained staff and volunteers provide – by phone and email – information and guidance on the law, how to report stalking, gathering evidence, staying safe and reducing the risk.

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Duncan Lewis Solicitors Domestic Violence Emergency Hotline

24 hrs Domestic Violence Emergency Hotline provided by Duncan Lewis Solicitors a national law firm with over 500 lawyers all over UK. Legal Aid available. NB: The inclusion of any links to, or details of, an organisation or service on this web-site does not necessarily imply a recommendation.

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IDVA Service

Independent Domestic Violence Advisory Service for Luton providing free, independent and confidential support & advocacy for very high risk cases of domestic abuse or those where professional judgement is applied - referrals accepted from all statutory and non statutory agencies. Contact for advice or further details. Secure email address available for referrals.

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Shanthona Womens Group

Independent advice for men & women with personal/family, benefit, health or abuse issues, to overcome barriers and inequalities in accessing services. Based at Bury Park Community Centre in Luton.

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Luton Borough Council

Advice regarding housing and benefits, schools and council services. Advice and support for Council tenants, private Sector tenants, and owner occupiers.

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IKWRO

Advice for women and girls on honour based violence, forced marriage, FGM and domestic violence. Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish, Farsi, Dari, Pashtu and English.

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National Centre for Domestic Violence

NCDV was established to help survivors of domestic violence obtain protection against an abuser, as well as offering services to the police, probation service, domestic abuse agency workers, the legal profession and judiciary. We specialise in providing free, fast and effective legal support to survivors of domestic violence, usually by helping individuals obtain injunctions from their local county court. This free service is provided to everybody, regardless of their financial circumstances, sexual orientation, race, gender, age, or political or religious belief or otherwise.

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