living in a refuge bannerLiving in a refuge

A refuge is not an institution. It is a home, where women and children who have experienced violence and abuse can live in safety. You have the freedom to come and go when you please.

It can be difficult adjusting to life in a new environment. But other women in the refuge understand what you have been through, and staff are on hand to help you settle in and give you the support you need to start thinking about your future.

There is no one type of refuge – they are all different. Some have self-contained flats, whilst others provide private rooms for you and your children with other areas (living room, kitchen, bathrooms) shared. You can cook meals for yourself and your children, or share the cooking with other women. The refuge is your home for as long as you need to stay there.

Often women arrive at the refuges with very few possessions or nothing at all. We will provide you with basic supplies such as food, nappies and toiletries. Our refuge staff will help you to secure welfare benefits so that you can live independently.

All refuges have trained staff who are there to help you settle in and apply for welfare benefits. They can also support you with a range of other practical issues, such as registering with a local doctor or school, contacting solicitors, and dealing with immigration issues.

Staff are also there to support you emotionally. They understand what you have been through and will help you to make sense of what is going on. They will not judge you or tell you what to do. They want you to have the time and space to make your own decisions.

One worker will be your key worker. She will meet you at least weekly to make sure you are receiving the support you need. You can discuss any concerns or worries you may have with her. It is up to you to choose how much support we give you. We are there to guide and empower but the process is ‘owned’ and directed by you.