Housing and welfare support
Staying in your own home.
You have rights to stay in your own home and make an abusive partner leave. You may have to go to court to have your partner removed and to make him stay away. If you have occupancy rights, you can ask a lawyer to apply to the court for an exclusion order under the Matrimonial Homes (Family Protection) (Scotland) Act 1981. This is a court order that suspends the right of a married person, civil partner, or cohabitee to live in the family home. You can apply for an exclusion order if your spouse or partner has harmed you, or is threatening to harm you or your children.
You can apply for an exclusion order even if you had to leave your home because of the abuse and are currently living elsewhere, but you will need to apply within two years of leaving.
Download more information on staying in your own home and exclusion orders.
Temporary and permanent housing
If you have to leave your home because of domestic abuse, you have a right to temporary and permanent housing provided by the local council. It is possible to transfer to another council area for safety reasons. Housing law is complicated so you may find it helpful speak to an adviser from your local Women’s Aid group or a Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
If you need to leave your home because of domestic abuse, you are considered as being in ‘priority need’ for housing and should be assessed as ‘homeless’. You are homeless, even if you have accommodation, if you cannot get into it or there is a threat from a partner or ex-partner if you continue to live there.
You need to apply to your local council (housing department). Women’s Aid can help you do this.
The council will make enquiries about your application and must give you a safe place to stay while doing so. If it is an emergency, the council has a duty to provide emergency accommodation. Women’s Aid groups also operate a network of safe refuges. If you do not agree with a council’s decision you can appeal. Contact your local Women’s Aid group for more information
If you are not a UK/EEC citizen you may not be able to claim these benefits. You can get more information on this from Women’s Aid, your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau or rights office.
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