Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Many people are worried about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how this could affect their housing. Click here to find out what COVID-19 means for you.

Advice to get the perpetrator out of the house

If you have suffered domestic abuse, you may want to stay in your home, and get the perpetrator out.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

If staying at home because of Coronavirus puts you or your family at risk of abuse from someone else in the household, there is still help available during the pandemic.

If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 999. If you need silent help dial 999 followed by 55. Police will still come to your home.

The Live Fear Free helpline is a free, confidential 24 hour helpline run by Welsh Women’s Aid. Call 0808 8010 800 or email info@livefearfreehelpline.wales. Men experiencing domestic abuse can contact the Respect Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327.

For details of how to stay safe during the pandemic, click here.

Contacting the police

In some cases, the best way to get a perpetrator to leave will be to have them arrested. This may only get the person out of the way for a short time but, if they are charged, then they may be either held in custody, or may be given bail only on the condition that they do not go near you.

If a criminal offence has been committed, the person may also be prosecuted and given a custodial sentence.

Changing the locks

You may want to change the locks to stop the perpetrator getting into your home.

However, you need to be aware of two things:

  • simply changing the locks is unlikely to stop a determined attacker, except when combined with other security measures
  • if the perpetrator has rights to occupy the home (if you have a joint tenancy, for example), you could be illegally evicting her/him.

Occupation orders

Occupation orders are court orders that extend or restrict a person’s right to occupy a home. They can, for example, give you the right to stay in the family home where you didn’t previously have that right (for example, where the tenancy is a sole tenancy in the perpetrator’s name) or exclude the perpetrator from the home.

An occupation order can be applied for separately or as part of other family law proceedings (divorce or custody proceedings, for example) The details of the order you can apply for will depend on your relationship to the perpetrator and the type of accommodation you live in.

Occupation orders can have a power of arrest attached so, for example, if the perpetrator has been excluded from the home, they can be arrested if they try to gain entry. The perpetrator can be given a custodial sentence or fined for breaching the order.

You will need to seek the advice of a solicitor to get an occupation order. They cannot guarantee your safety, and will only last for a limited time, so you will need to take further action to settle who stays in the property in the long term. You will need advice from a family solicitor about this.

For further help and advice visit the FLOWS (Finding Legal Options for Women Survivors) website.  They can help you consider the legal options available, online, on the phone, or sitting down with an expert in your local area. It’s an entirely free, confidential and fully independent service.

Giving notice

If you and the perpetrator have a joint periodic tenancy (eg. one that’s not for a fixed term), you can end her/his rights to occupy by giving notice to quit to your landlord. The notice will have to be valid – there are rules on how a tenancy can be ended.

This will, however, also end your rights to occupy. Your landlord might be willing to grant you a sole tenancy when the joint tenancy ends. You should check with the landlord and get further advice before giving notice.

Help for perpetrators

If you are the perpetrator of domestic abuse or are worried about your behaviour, there is help available.

Follow the links below for further advice and support:

Respect phoneline has a team of advisors who can offer you confidential, honest advice, without any judgement, to help you stop.

Relate offer the Choose2Change programme which is a service to increase the safety of victims of domestic abuse through working with the perpetrator.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

Did you find this helpful?

This page was last updated on: March 12, 2021

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.

Font Resize