Because specialist services on domestic abuse, and housing rights and provision, are devolved by the UK Government, there is no consistent response across the country. There are different responses between the UK nations, and between local authorities – even within the same region.
On top of everything else you have to face if you relocate to escape a violence partner, you have to find out what it means to have left your local area and journeyed somewhere else.
Statutory services in your new area will ask – Are you local?
– and, if you are not, then you may find yourself or your children at the back of the queue for services – or even not eligible at all.
This is particularly the case if you need homelessness help – if you want to try and go to social housing. By law, local authorities have to determine if you have a “Local Connection”, and – if not – whether you have a good enough reason for now being in their area and seeking help.
Tens of thousands of women and children are forced to relocate due to domestic abuse – and many cross local authority boundaries and seek help in an unknown place. But this means that they often have no “Local Connection” – the lack of connection is often vital for them to feel and be safe. However, the research in this project has shown that most local authorities have a similar number of women and children leaving as the number who arrive to seek help – so the authorities are not unfairly affected. They are only helping women and children to the same extent as their women and children are being helped elsewhere.
it’s good to see the Scottish Government consulting on
easing the “Local Connection” legislation, recognising that “Choice may lead to
better outcomes than a strict interpretation of the legislative test.” They see the importance for resettlement if
people who have been forced to move from their local area are able to go to
their kind of place to start again: that “People experiencing homelessness are
best placed to make the judgement as to the geographical area which best meets
 Bowstead, Janet C. 2015. “Forced Migration in the United Kingdom: Women’s Journeys to Escape Domestic Violence.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 40 (3): 307–320. doi:10.1111/tran.12085.