Domestic Abuse & Harassment

Help with housing if you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse

If you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse the Housing & Welfare Options Team can help find you emergency accommodation and provide specific help and support, working with specialist services to ensure you receive the most appropriate support as quickly as possible.

  • In an emergency situation phone 999 and ask for the Police.
  • Sanctuary Scheme - The Sanctuary Scheme is a grant which provides security measures for your home. For further information visit the Housing Grants Page.

Further help and support

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  • Don't suffer in silence... 
    The Worcestershire Domestic and Sexual Abuse website offers help and guidance for Women, Children and Men who are or have experienced domestic or sexual abuse. It also provides information for people who know someone who may be being abused.
  • West Mercia Womens Aid If you are worried or frightened by your partner or ex-partner, a family member or someone close to you, please ring our Helpline for support, advice and information about your options: 0800 980 3331
  • DAWN Project – Domestic Abuse Working Network, providing a free confidential service for women who have or are experiencing domestic abuse.
  • JOY Project– A service which provides support to enable women gain a variety of skills.
  • Community Connectors– Providing support for the socially isolated
  • Domestic violence and abuse: help from DWP - A guide for domestic violence and abuse victims about services from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Harassment

What is harassment?

To be classed as harassment, offensive behaviour must happen on at least two occasions. The more times something has happened, the more likely it is to be harassment. The person accused is at fault if they know what they are doing is harassment, or if it obviously is harassment.  Harassment can take a number of different forms, for example:

  • Visiting your home regularly without warning, especially late at night.
  • Interfering with your post.
  • Sending hate mail, texts or emails or making unpleasant telephone calls.
  • Threatening you.
  • Harassing you because of your gender, race or sexuality.
  • Stalking you.

What isn't harassment

Noise nuisance e.g. playing music loudly or operating loud machinery is not likely to be considered harassment in the eyes of the law. If you would like more information about noise nuisance then please visit the Enviromental Health Website or the Shelter Website.

Why does harassment occur?

It is often hard to understand why harassment happens, but it may help you to stop it if you know the reason why. Common causes include:

  • Antisocial behaviour.
  • Bigotry, prejudice and intolerance, by reason of race, religion, sexuality etc.
  • An ex partner or ex spouse who feels aggrieved (although this may often be classed as domestic abuse please see information above)  
  • Mental health or substance misuse problems.
  • Someone you have made a complaint about who wants to retaliate.
  • Someone who is not happy about something that you are doing.

Harassment can't be justified, but in some situations there are things you can do to help resolve the problem. For example, if a neighbour threatens you because your loud music keeps him up all night, your music is part of the problem. Often more than one cause is at work. Try to understand the reason for the harassment, and that will help you to decide what is the best way of dealing with it.

Dealing with harassment

If someone is harassing you, you can take steps to stop the harassment, and the police and the Council may be able to help.  If you are a tenant, your landlord will also have a duty of care towards you.  You can also go to court to prevent the harassment. 
You should start by taking practical steps to protect yourself. That may solve the problem, but if not, there are a lot of other things you can try. The action you take depends on what the problem is, how bad the problem is and what, if anything, you have already tried to do about it. It is always a good idea to get advice from a local advice centre like Worcester Housing And Benefit Advice Centre.

What can we do?

  • Encourage you to report the situation to the police and other agencies/support workers/friends and family if not already done so.
  • Signpost you to agencies who can assist you with negotiation and mediation with your neighbours and who may be able to support you.
  • Speak to your landlord to see how they are trying to ensure your safety.
  • Advise you on civil and criminal action you can take.
  • Make recommendations on how to collect evidence against your neighbours.
  • Advise you on emergency accommodation options if necessary.
  • Advise you on your housing options if you feel you no longer want to remain in the property (please see the Housing Options Page for further information).
  • Where there has been anti-social behaviour and neighbour disputes we will check with local Family Intervention Project to establish if either household is known to them.
  • If you are a Housing Association tenant we will contact the landlord and ensure that investigations and actions are being taken under their anti-social behaviour procedures.
  • Agree actions that will be taken by landlord including:
    • Options to move temporarily or permanently.
    • Warning the perpetrator.
    • Additional security in victim's home.
    • Action being taken under landlord's harassment or victim support policy.

Further advice on harassment

  • Shelter Harassment Advice - Website
  • Shelter Harassment & Illegal Eviction - Leaflet