Domestic abuse and money
This page gives advice on financial help you can get if you leave your partner because of domestic abuse.
If you leave your partner, you may be worried about how you are going to pay for your general living costs.
If you are already claiming benefits, you will need to contact Jobcentre Plus and/or the council to let them know about your change of circumstances.
If you are unsure what you might be entitled to, get advice. The Department for Work and Pensions have produced a comprehensive Guide on the help you can get if you are a victim of domestic abuse.
If you are staying in a refuge, the staff there should be able to help you apply for help.
One of your biggest costs if you leave your partner is likely to be your housing costs. You may be able to get housing benefit or Universal Credit housing costs to help pay the rent or mortgage. The amount you get depends on your circumstances (your income, the people in your household, etc).
If you still have to pay rent on the home you have left, you may be able to get housing benefit on two homes for a limited period. If you are claiming Universal Credit and you have left your normal home because of a fear of violence you may be able to get housing costs paid on two homes for a maximum time of 12 months.
If the help you get to pay your housing costs doesn’t cover all your rent you may be able to get a discretionary housing payment.
If you face other housing costs (for example, if you are moving into privately rented accommodation and have to pay a deposit) you may be able to get help from the Discretionary Assistance Fund or apply for a budgeting loan. If you need help to furnish a new place, there may be a local furniture project that can help out with low-cost furniture.
If you leave your partner, you can apply for child maintenance from them, to help with the costs of bringing up your children, although you may not wish to do this if it may cause you or your children further harm or distress. If you are afraid that your partner may threaten or ill treat you or your child if they are forced to pay child maintenance, it’s best to get advice before making a claim.
For impartial information and support with applying for child maintenance from your ex-partner, and the different options for you, go to the Gov.uk : Child Maintenance website.
If you and your ex-partner are unable to reach a ‘family-based agreement’ regarding maintenance payments, or you don’t know where your ex-partner is, you will need to contact the government’s Child Maintenance Service. The Child Maintenance Service has replaced the Child Support Agency and deals with all new applications for child maintenance payments. You do not have to pay the Child Maintenance Service application fee, which is currently £20, if you are a victim of domestic violence and abuse.
Opening a bank account
If you don’t have your own bank account, try to arrange to open one before you leave.
If you already have your own bank account(s) and credit card(s), make sure you tell the bank and credit card company your new address, so that your partner can’t get hold of your statements. Use a ‘care of’ address if you don’t want anyone to know where you’re staying. Be aware, however, that many banks won’t send information to a ‘care of’ address.