Planning To Stay

Acknowledging you are experiencing domestic abuse is a big step. Deciding what to do next, equally so. There are a variety of organisations who can talk through your situation and will support you in what you decide to do.  Contact Women's Aid in LutonLuton All Women's Centre, the National Domestic Violence Helpline, Victim Support or one of the other agencies listed below.

Staying in the Property with the Abuser

If you are intending to stay in the property with your abuser, you should do everything you can to keep yourself and any children safe.  The Women’s Aid Survivors Handbook has information on making a Safety Plan, including :

  • teaching your children to dial 999 and what to say in the event of an emergency where you can't get to a phone
  • keeping an emergency bag at a trusted person’s house if you have to leave quickly (see planning to leave for suggestions)
  • if there is a neighbour you can trust, tell them what is going on and ask them to call the police if they hear sounds of a violent attack and if you can go to them in an emergency
  • knowing where all your key documents are so you can take them with you if you need to leave
  • keep a small amount of money to hand at all times (eg for public phones/bus fares etc); know where the nearest phones are at home and outside; keep your mobile with you
  • if you believe your partner is going to attack you, stay away from rooms where there are potential weapons, keeping near exits and phones
  • be prepared to leave in an emergency

Removing the Abuser from the property temporarily or permanently

You may wish to stay in your home.  This may mean removing the abuser from the property or preventing their return.

Call the police on 999 if you are in immediate danger in your home; the abuser may be arrested and temporarily removed from the property.  If a criminal offence has been committed, they may face a custodial sentence. There are ways of legally excluding the abuser permanently. The agencies listed below can discuss your particular situation.

If you are a council tenant, please contact Luton Borough Council’s Housing Department to talk to a Housing Officer about your options. Note by committing acts of abuse/violence, the abuser has breached their tenancy conditions. 

You may be able to get a Non Molestation Order; this aims to prevent your partner or ex-partner from using or threatening violence or intimidating, harassing or pestering you or your children. 

 Another option could be an Occupation Order on its own or as part of any divorce or custody proceedings.  These are court orders that extend or restrict a person's right to occupy a home but only last for a limited time. Women’s Aid’s Survivors Handbook has more information (this is available in a number of languages), which is applicable to both men and women on this subject. 

You can also get advice and assistance obtaining an emergency injunction from the National Centre for Domestic Violence on 0844 8044 999. This NCDV service is free and user-friendly and after they have assessed your eligibility they can usually help you obtain an emergency injunction within 24 hours from when you first contact them.

Making the property safer

Consider how your property can be made safer:

  • fitting more secure locks, door chains, and peepholes for the front doors
  • reinforcing doors and door frames
  • getting window locks installed (and using them every day)
  • installing alarms and security lighting
  • improving fire safety measures
  • letting neighbours know that the perpetrator no longer lives with you and asking them to let you know if they see her/him hanging around
  • don’t leave a spare key with anyone the perpetrator may be able to persuade to give it to them

 

Luton Borough Council’s Homesafe scheme can help council tenants, and some other tenants and homeowners.  Contact the Housing Department for more information.

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.

Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust, a charity, may also be able to help you improve your home security through their Bobby Scheme, by fitting locks, door chains, viewers etc; please ask the agency supporting you to refer you.

Parental Access

The abuser may continue to have parental access to their children.  Consider arranging the hand over to be at a different, neutral location.  Help your children to understand what is happening by encouraging them to visit the Information for Children page.

Keep yourself safe

  • Consider changing all telephone numbers
  • Screen calls
  • Ensure your mobile phone has its credit topped up charged at all times
  • Make sure your children’s schools know of any changed arrangements
  • Consider getting a personal alarm and/or having self defence classes

Legal Aid

Please see the Women’s Aid Survivors Handbook for more information around legal support.  The Ministry of Justice has a page regarding legal aid for victims of domestic violence for divorce, sharing the money or property and child contact – evidence of domestic abuse will be required.

You can also get advice and assistance obtaining an emergency injunction from the National Centre for Domestic Violence on 0844 8044 999. This NCDV service is free and user-friendly and after they have assessed your eligibility they can usually help you obtain an emergency injunction within 24 hours from when you first contact them.

Luton Advice Network

The Luton Advice Network Transition Project launched in November 2013. The two year project is designed to further build capacity through networking and resources and establish new advice outreach sessions embedded in local community orgainisations. Areas of advice covered: Debt, Benefits, Domestic Abuse, Employment, Housing, Family Law, Immigration, Discrimination....

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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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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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One Stop Advice Centre

Free, confidential and impartial advice and support to the local community. Immigration & residency, Welfare, Benefits, Careers and Advice, Housing, Debt, Family & Personal issues. Community Care - aids and adaptations, referral to other agencies and practical help with forms etc. Languages spoken, English, Urdu, Pahari, Punjabi and Bengali.

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