If you are fleeing domestic violence, it's important that you have somewhere safe to sleep when you leave your home. Here are some of the common options and the pros and cons of each one.
Domestic violence shelters
Domestic violence shelters are well set up for families and often have all bedding, toys and other items you may not have been able to bring when you left your home. They are also very secure due to the nature of their mission, which can be reassuring for people leaving a violent situation. They are usually either free or low-cost facilities.
Depending where you live, there can be limited places available to stay. You may end up staying further away than you intended, and this can lead to long commutes to school and work. Shelters are often quite busy with many families sharing facilities, and this can also be stressful for people not used to communal living.
A family member or friend's home
Another option is to stay with a friend or family member. This option is usually free or low cost and is usually in an area that you are familiar with. Having built-in support can also be great during this stressful transition period.
However it's usually not as secure staying with a family member as your partner will most likely be able to determine where you are. Equally, your friend is probably not set up to have another family stay with them permanently so it may prove cramped for everyone.
Another option is to stay at a hotel or motel. These facilities are usually more secure, and anonymous than staying with a friend or family member. You can get connected rooms so that the family can stay together but have their own sleeping spaces.
Hotels can lack some facilities such as full kitchenettes, but they often have some limited food preparation area in each room. While they are relatively pricey, if there are no spaces in local domestic violence shelters you can often get a voucher for accommodation from various not-for-profit groups that specialise in emergency housing. Many hotels also have lower rates for weekly stays compared to night-by-night rates.
If you are looking to leave a domestic violence situation, one of the first priorities is to find safe and secure accommodation. A shelter, a friend's home, and a hotel room are great short-term options while you seek out permanent accommodation.