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A refuge simply means a safe house offering temporary accommodation for you and your children. It ensures a place of safety for any woman escaping domestic abuse whatever the circumstances.

The refuge provides women who need it with somewhere safe to stay, giving time and space to think about all the options and the best way forward for each woman (and her children) to regain a life free from the fear of violence and intimidation.

The refuge staff  are qualified professionals who are specifically trained in dealing with domestic abuse issues.  Any information they are given is confidential and issues and people in the refuge are not discussed outside. Residents can be secure that information about them and their situation will not be passed on to those in the community whom they might know.

Staff will welcome each woman into the refuge and introduce them. Each woman is assigned a key-worker who will work with them and support them while they are in the refuge and through the period of resettlement once they move on.

Staff are there to help each new resident to get settled in and make the necessary practical arrangements, such as registering with a new doctor, securing new school places for children, applying for benefits, contacting solicitors and obtaining legal advice, dealing with immigration issues and looking at available re-housing options. Key-workers will draw up individual support plans dependent on individual needs, which are reviewed on a regular basis.

The staff are also available to provide emotional support. Their role is not to judge or blame, to provide time and space to enable each women to feel confident to make their own decisions, and to offer support.

While the refuge is well-maintained, friendly and welcoming, it is not the same as one’s home. Women have their own flat with their own bathrooms, kitchens and rooms, but they do share the refuge with other women and their families. For this reason there are some rules in place which will be different from living in your own home.

Referrals into the refuge may be made directly by any woman in need or through a professional agency. If you are in need of refuge accommodation, please contact the RWA on 01349 863569).