refuge scene bigRefuges

A refuge is a safe house for women and children escaping domestic violence. The address is confidential and no men are allowed in the building.

A refuge is much more than a safe roof over a woman or child’s head. Our specialist staff provide residents with the building blocks they need to begin a new life, free from fear. They help women and children to overcome the impacts of violence and abuse and offer a huge range of practical and emotional support. This might include support on housing, education, accessing benefits, employment, or immigration, or it might mean helping a woman to achieve better health and wellbeing.

Any woman who has experienced domestic violence – emotional or physical – can go to a refuge, with or without children.

Refuge staff are on hand to support each resident with her individual needs. This might include supporting women with:

  • Safety planning
  • Finding a safe new home
  • Budgeting, debt discussions and discussing access to welfare benefits
  • Accessing health services
  • Finding nurseries and schools
  • Accessing local community and cultural services
  • Gaining legal advice, including accompanying women to appointments and court
  • Training, education and employment

Staff also provide women with emotional support. They understand what she has been through and will help to make sense of what is going on. They will not judge or tell a woman what to do. Our staff give women time and space to make their own decisions.

Women stay in our refuges for as long as they need to stay. Some women stay for a few days, others stay for months while they wait for accommodation in a new community. Our experts help women to find new, permanent accommodation for themselves and their children.

The Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run by Refuge and Women’s Aid, acts as the gateway to all services across the country and helps women find a space in a refuge.