Life in a Refuge

Woman looking at sea

A refuge is provided a home, where women and children who have experienced domestic abuse can live in safety.

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

What happens when I first arrive?

Often women arrive at the refuges with very few possessions or nothing at all.  We will provide you with a food pack, toiletries, and nappies if you need them, all our rooms are dressed with new quilts, duvet covers and pillows.  Our Refuge Domestic Abuse Practitioners will help you settle in and make sure that you have everything you and your children need for your first night with us.

On arrival we you will be introduced to your Refuge Domestic Abuse Practitioner who is there to help you settle in, provide you a tour of the accommodation, fire exits and procedure, and show you the communal lounge areas and laundry facilities.

On arrival you will be asked to sign a licence agreement and house rules so your allocated worker can make an application for Housing Benefit (if you are eligible).

Once you have settled in they can also support you with a range of other practical issues, such as registering with a local doctor, dentist, housing advice, how to apply for your correct entitlement to benefits, contacting solicitors, and dealing with immigration issues. so that you can live independently.

Do I have to pay anything?

Most women who stay in our refuges are able to claim Housing Benefit, which covers the cost of the weekly rent charge for the duration of your stay with us.  There may be some specific reasons why you would not be able to claim housing benefit, such as if you are currently working and aim to continue working, or your immigration status, but our Refuge Domestic Abuse Practitioner will go through this with you as part of the referral process.

You will be required to contribute to a personal charge of £5.30 per week.  This money is for heating, lighting and amenities and you cannot get housing benefit to cover these costs.

A weekly deposit of £10.00 is payable.  Your deposit will be returned to you after your fob is returned and housekeeping have serviced the room for re-let.  The deposit is also there to cover any damage or breakages (other than accidental) or any additional cleaning costs at the end of your stay.  These will always be discussed with you.

"The refuge to me was the life jacket that stopped me from drowning and kept me safe through recovery. I have self-worth and a future that's bright and it's all thanks to them." - Survivor

What can I do with my car?

We offer off road car parking facilities at our refuge accommodation sites.

Is there any other support for me and my children?

Refuge Domestic Abuse Practitioners 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 listen with a non- judgemental approach and are not there to tell you what to do.  They want you to have the time and space to make your own decisions.

We can also refer you to our Children and Young Person's service, if you feel like you and your child need additional support. Take a look at our Children and Young Person's information page to find out what kind of support is offered.

Your Refuge Domestic Abuse Practitioner 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.  Whilst it is up to you to choose how much support we give you, it is important to remember that your place in the refuge is because of the trauma you have experienced which means that the support sessions are a required part of your stay with us.  However, we are only there to guide and empower you, the process is ‘owned’ and led by you

Access to refuge accommodation is granted between the hours of 7.00am – 11pm daily.  Alongside the weekday support, we provide an overnight on-call, out of hours emergency service Monday – Thursday 17.00 pm – 09.00 am.

Friday 17.00 pm – Monday 9.00 am, we offer an out of hour’s weekend emergency on call service.  We can take emergency referrals and respond to emergency situations (Fire, Flood or safeguarding concerns).

What should I bring?

If you are able to plan your leaving date, then the following list is a really good, practical start for the things that will make moving into a refuge a bit easier for you and your children.  However, the most important thing is that you leave safely, so if you don't have access to the documents, or can't pack in advance then don't worry - just leave safely, wearing and bringing whatever you can, we can sort all the rest of it out when you get to us...

  • Identification: passports, birth certificates, driving licence wherever possible
  • National insurance number
  • Money, Bank Cards etc
  • Benefits entitlements letters
  • Car documents
  • Clothes for both you and your children
  • Favourite toys
  • Medication/prescriptions
  • Toiletries
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