Leaving your home is not always the only or best option. You can receive support to help you stay safe in your own home. The Somerset Domestic Abuse Service can help you make sure your home is safe. If you are not living with the person causing you harm, then a service like the Sanctuary Scheme may be helpful.
You can also get help to obtain a range of legal measures to help prevent and maintain your safety.
Domestic Abuse Disclosure Scheme
If you are unsure whether your current or former partner may have been abusive or violent in a previous relationship, then you have the right to ask the police as part of the national “Domestic Abuse disclosure scheme (known as Clare’s Law)”
Clare’s Law gives any member of the public the right to ask the police if a current or former partner has been violent or abusive in a previous relationship. A close friend or family member can also make an enquiry into the partner of someone they know. The police will carry out checks and if they show that the person has a record of abusive offences, or there is other information to indicate that they pose a risk, the Police will consider sharing this information with you. You can call 101 or go to your local police station to make an application.
If the person causing you harm is willing to get help to change their behaviour, then they can access help from the Somerset Domestic Abuse Service too. Alongside this, you will also receive support.
If you think you may need to leave at some point, then consider putting an emergency bag together. Having an emergency bag means that if you have to flee your house you can take some basic belongings with you easily. This reduces the need to return to the property when it may not be safe to do so.
Here is what to pack:
- Some form of identification. Passports, Visas and work permits.
- Money, savings books, chequebooks, credit and debit cards.
- Keys for the house, car or work (you could get additional keys cut and put them in your bag).
- Child, Family Tax and any other benefit information.
- Driving licence and car registration documents.
- Prescribed medication and repeat prescription.
- Clothing and toiletries for you and the children.
- Address book and emergency contact numbers.
- Personal items (photos for example) or favourite toys for your children.
- Copies of any legal documents, for example, injunctions.
Do not put yourself in danger getting these items, pack what you can, as there may be opportunities to get things later on.
Get in touch
If you are concerned for yourself or someone else, our local, confidential helpline will advise anyone seeking help with domestic abuse. This includes relatives, friends and work colleagues as well as those who are causing harm.
Speak to us on 0800 69 49 999. Our phone line is available 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.
In an emergency, you should always dial 999. If you are worried that an abuser may overhear your call you can remain silent, tap the phone and dial 55 when prompted by the operator who will send help.
If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired you can register with emergencySMS.net. Once registered you will be able to send a text to 999 if you require help in an emergency.