Am I entitled to refuge accommodation when I am not being abused physically?
Domestic abuse can take many forms and includes mental, emotional, sexual and financial as well as physical abuse. Your partner may have never hit you, or hasn’t done so for a while if they are controlling your behavior by any means and you are scared of your partner you can request access to our accommodation and the other support we offer.
When I leave where can I go if there is no refuge space?
As someone who has experienced domestic abuse and has had to leave because of this, the council has a duty to help you with accommodation, this may be temporary accommodation, it may be a private let and in some cases it may be bed and breakfast.
What can I do – I have nothing?
At Women’s Aid we can help you to rebuild your life, some women have to walk away from abusive partners with nothing but the clothes they stand up in but they have their lives and they are safe. Starting over can be difficult but there is help available we can help you access accommodation, financial support and help you to replace clothes and possessions you have had to leave behind.
Can he take the children from me?
If he has parental rights and there is no court agreement over residence then you both have the same rights with regards the children staying with you. The courts take into account what is in the best interests of the children and if they have an established routine there would need to be a good reason for this to be changed. The courts believe that children should have contact with both parents unless there is a good reason why one parent shouldn’t get contact. We can give you contact details for solicitors who can advised you based on your individual situation.
Is refuge furnished?
Our accommodation is fully furnished. We have five flats and two bedsits, the flats are stand alone, you will get a key to your front door and don’t share any living accommodation. In the bedsits the kitchen is shared but you have your own room and bathroom.
If I have nowhere to go and I am on the street do I leave the children with my partner?
If you have children and you are unable to access refuge accommodation the local authority has a duty to provide you with accommodation.
He keeps telling me Social Work will take my children, what are my rights regarding the children?
Social work do not take people’s children away from them without a good reason, this usually happens if parents are unable to look after their children properly or are unable to keep them safe. If he does report you to social work then they may contact you but unless they are at risk of significant harm with you it will likely be passed over to the health visitor of head teacher at your children’s school to help put in place a plan to help you with your children if required. If you are experiencing abuse and leave because of this we will help you let the schools/health visitor know about this so we can help you get the support you need and so the children can get the support they need. If dad has parental rights then you both have the same rights to have the children live with you and to see the children. The courts take into account what is in the best interests of the children and if they have an established routine there would need to be a good reason for this to be changed. The courts believe that children should have contact with both parents unless there is a good reason why one parent shouldn’t get contact. We can give you contact details for solicitors who can advised you based on your individual situation.
If I leave does it mean I have failed?
No it doesn’t meant you’ve failed, your aren’t responsible for your partner’s abusive behavior. If this is the reason you are leaving the relationship then this isn’t a personal failure as you can’t control how your partner behaves. You may feel grief about the end of your relationship.
Do I have to talk about it all straight away or do I have to keep repeating what has happened to me?
You can choose when and how much to tell us about what you have experienced. There may be things that you never tell anyone. We will never push you to tell us anything or to do anything that you aren’t ready to do or are sure is the right decision for you.
If I phone refuge and they have no space will I be reported to Social Work if I do not leave?
In normal circumstances we would not tell anyone you have been in contact with us. However where we think there is a high risk of serious injury or death to either you or your children then we would have to pass this information onto other agencies including the police and social work.
If the finances are in joint names how am I going to manage as the benefits system is daunting and would I get help to work through this?
We can support you to access the benefits you are entitled to. We work closely with Ross & Cromarty Citizens Advice Bureau to ensure women we work with get good advice and help with their benefits and any debts they may have.
Who will ensure that all my, and my children’s fundamental needs are in place?
We will work with you to identify any help and support you need, we use a needs assessment to identify your support needs and that of your children. We will work with you to make sure these needs are met identifying what we will do, what you will do and what other agencies can help.
How long am I likely to be in refuge?
Women can stay in refuge for as long as they require, for some this may be a couple of nights for other this can be until they are re-housed which at present can be between 18-24 months depending on their housing requirements.
How can I be sure that my case is kept confidential?
Ross-shire Women’s Aid understands the need for confidently for those using our services. We have processes in place to ensure that we do not disclose your information by mistake. We will not disclose anything you tell us to other agencies unless we believe that you or your children are at risk of serious harm or death, in most cases we would let you know we were going to do this before we did this.
If I live in a small community (and people know where the refuge is) can I go to refuge in another area?
If its not safe for you to stay in the local area then we can help you to access refuge accommodation in another area where this is available.
Can I get help without going into refuge?
Yes, you do not have to access our accommodation to get support. We work with many woman in the communities we work in these this can be women who have left their partners recently or a long time ago We can also support you if you are still living with your abusive partner.
Can I get support with/for my children?
We have specialist children and young people’s workers who can help your children to deal with what they have experienced. They can help your children to deal with their feelings emotions, to understand about the abuse and to help you build your relationship as well as many other things.
Are the police trained re attending domestic abuse incidents?
Northern Constabulary have specialist domestic abuse liaison officers (DALO) who can help you if you contact them, they are police officers who have had additional training and can help you with issues relating to your safety. All other officers receive training about domestic abuse so they should be understanding to your situation and should arrange for a DALO to get in touch with you.
Is refuge for single women or is it also for children?
The refuge is for all women, those with children who still live with them, those who have children who are grown up and those who have no children. We have two bedsits which are for single women.