What is domestic abuse

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 created a statutory definition of domestic abuse. It is abusive behaviour between those aged over 16 years who are personally connected to each other – they are or have been intimate partners or family members, even after separation. Regardless of age, gender, religion, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, marital status or background.

Behaviour is considered abusive when it includes any of the following:

  • physical or sexual abuse
  • violent or threatening behaviour
  • controlling or coercive behaviour
  • economic abuse
  • psychological, emotional or other abuse

A child who sees, hears, or experiences the effects of domestic abuse, and is related to the person being abused or the perpetrator is also regarded as a victim of domestic abuse in their own right.

What help you can get to live in safety

Please contact our local specialist support at Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service (SIDAS). They offer specialist advice to help you to be safe from domestic abuse.

There’s a range of options around your housing that they can help you with, from obtaining court orders and other legal measures, organising safety improvements for your home, to helping you to access safe temporary accommodation such as a refuge or ‘safe house’.

You can contact Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service by telephoning their confidential helpline on 0800 694 9999. This is available to anyone concerned about domestic abuse.

If you or somebody else is in immediate danger, phone the police on 999.

Get homelessness assistance

You can apply to the council as a homeless person if you cannot stay in your home. We will give you advice about finding somewhere to live and in some cases you may be assessed as eligible for emergency accommodation.

If the council has a duty to find you somewhere to live, you will be asked to provide details of your situation (where possible).

You may be asked for supporting evidence, which could include details and dates of incidents.

You can bring a friend or an adviser with you for support if you wish.

Please contact us to make a homelessness application.

Where it is not safe for you to return home, we can also help you find a private rented or social rented property in a safe location.

Leaving home immediately

If you have to leave your property immediately we may place you in temporary accommodation while we look at what options are available to you depending on your circumstances.

Not everyone is entitled to emergency accommodation so you may wish to look at other options such as staying with friends or relatives while you think about what to do next or try to find a place in a refuge.

Take some essentials with you such as a change of clothes, toiletries and any medication you need to take regularly. Try to bring important items such as your passport, bank cards or credit cards and mobile phone.

Don’t make a decision to give up your home permanently until you have spoken to an adviser and considered all your options.

More information

You can find more advice and information about domestic abuse online at Somerset’s domestic abuse website at Somerset Domestic Abuse.

If you would like to speak in confidence to a domestic abuse specialist or attend one of the domestic abuse advice drop-in venues around the county, then please contact the local Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse helpline on 0800 69 49 999.

Last reviewed: March 13, 2024 by Ian

Next review due: September 13, 2024

Back to top