The local refuge
The refuge is a safe house where women and children who are fleeing from domestic abuse can live free from violence. The Refuge address is confidential. You can choose to stay in the local refuge or you may want to go out of town to another refuge for safety.
|If you are experiencing any form of domestic violence you can ring the local refuge on 575757 for advice, information or just someone to talk to. We can also provide you with emergency temporary living accommodation if you need to leave your home.|
What will my accommodation be like?
|We opened a new refuge in December 2006. We also have a safe house in the community. We have self-contained and fully equipped flats that comprise of a living/dining room, a bathroom, a kitchen and two bedrooms. We also have two bedsits for women with no children.
Occasionally we have to ask women with no children, or maybe just one child, to share a two bedroomed unit. This is only done when demand is extremely high or in emergency situations.
|The quality and standard of the accommodation is superb. You will also have access to a shared communal room for socialising and meeting others who live in the refuge. Additionally there is a children's room, a children's garden, a quiet garden, a computer room and laundry. All staff areas and communal areas are situated on the ground floor.|
Televisions are provided but every resident must have their own TV Licence. The building is well lit and alarmed and has emergency panic buttons.
|Access to the building, and private areas within the facility, is only possible with the use of security 'key fobs' which are monitored by the security system 24 hours a day. There are also CCTV devices covering the outside, doorways and internal corridors which record 24 hours a day.|
What support will I receive?
The refuge and house are ‘supported’ housing accommodation. This means that your stay will offer support sessions that will include planning for your future. You can get help and support from any member of staff but you will be allocated a key worker who will work closely with you to help try and sort out any issues and plan your way forward. Your key worker will set aside time each week for you to meet. Your worker can help you with doctors, solicitors, courts, police, benefits agency, housing, etc, They will go with you if you are feeling nervous. The worker will not do everything for you but she is there to help and support you in any way she can. Most importantly support workers will offer a listening ear at a time when you probably need it most!
What should I bring with me
It is a good idea to bring some things with you but this is not always possible if you have to leave in an emergency. If you do not have time to plan to leave we can support you back into your property at a later date to get any additional items if you want to. You will not be able to bring larger items such as furniture with you to the refuge, but we can help you to find ways of storing your furniture.
Generally, we cannot take house pets, however, we do work closely with a pet fostering organisation that may help to temporarily look after your pet(s) through the duration of your stay.
As a guide only; and only if there is time; think about the possessions and the documents you would want to bring with you:
- birth certificates for you and your children.
- school and medical records
- money, bankbooks, cheque book, credit cards, bank statements.
- wage slips, benefits letters, Child Tax Credit letters etc.
- driving licence and car documents.
- prescribed medication.
- benefits information and identification inc. your child benefit.
- passports, visas and work permits.
- mortgage or rent details.
- unpaid bills
- insurance documents.
- telephone and address book.
- family photographs, your diary, jewellery, items of sentimental value.
- children’s favourite items of clothing and small toys.
- clothes for you and your children.
What do I do about money and rent?
For most women and children Housing Benefit will be claimed for your rent and a small 'top up' is payable. Once you have left your home you may be entitled to claim social security benefits for yourself and any children you have with you. This is your right. Support Workers can help you with this.
If you are in full or part-time regular employment that you wish to continue with, but need to go into temporary refuge accommodation as a result of domestic violence, consider discussing your situation with your manager, your boss, or your personnel officer, in confidence, in order to arrange some time off work which could be allocated as annual or sick leave. If you leave full or part time employment in order to relocate and move into refuge accommodation, your rights to benefit may be affected. You will need to discuss this with a refuge worker as soon as you move into the refuge.
Our rent is varied according to your income. Again, if you are on benefits then we will claim your housing benefit and you will just need to pay a top up. However, if you are working you will need to pay more rent according to your wage.
What about my housing situation?
- You can return home at any time
- You may decide you want to return to your partner
- You may decide to return to your home after your partner has left
- You may want an injunction (protection)
- You may decide you want to be rehoused elsewhere
The choice is yours, and Support Workers will help you to decide what you want to do.
Women usually stay with us for approximately 3/4 months. Some women stay in refuges for a break from the violence, a breathing space with time to think away from danger. Some women decide to return to the man they were living with to try again. Most women use this time of safety to plan their futures.
When you leave the refuge/house you can still recieve support and information or you may need to come back as a resident again if ever you need to in the future.
|What services are available in the refuge for my children?
We have an excellent service for children who live at the refuge. The children have their own activitiy room and their own space that is fully equipped and staffed.
|Our children's workers offer emotional and practical support to the children, but they also organise activities, events, one-to-one support sessions, children's meetings and much more. A timetable of activities will be discussed with you when you move in. We can also support you as a family with new boundaries, routines, behaviour, and any general parenting support.|
The childrens service relies totally on fundraising and donations. This vital service gives children time to themselves and also allows the mums some time alone to recieve support for themselves. Thanks to fundraising efforts we are able to take the children on outings, trips and days out as often as possible and try to organise communal events such as barbeques, Christmas parties, etc. Find out more about Childrens Services
What if I have a Disability?
The refuge building has full disabled access but support can also be offered for additional needs or requirements such as visual or hearing support.
Leaving the refuge
Women's Aid has a Resettlement Worker. She supports women into new properties and helps them to begin a new independent lifestyle. Planning a new home is very daunting and there is a lot to sort out, the worker can help women with this.
The worker is available to visit and support the woman on a regular basis either weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Some women are supported on an ‘as and when needed’ basis. The worker can also help women to access free security items for their new properties such as panic alarms, locks/bolts, etc. Going out into a new community alone can prove very difficult and some women feel isolated and lonely. Our worker can help women to make contact with people and agencies that are offering help or activities in their new local area.
Our worker also runs a weekly ‘survivors’ group. This group was formed at the request of women who wanted to ‘get together’ to meet informally and continue to support each other. The group occasionally invites guest speakers, providing information on benefits, training, education, employment, etc. Specialised sessions of massage, aroma-therapy, art sessions, etc., have also been offered. The group is user lead and aims to help and support women who have gone through or may still be living with domestic violence. Childcare is provided. The group meets every Friday at 9.30am. (except during school holidays)
If you or someone you know would like to come along to the group - call Maria on 240906.
Office Hours for the Refuge
Office hours are Monday to Friday 8am until 6pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am until 1pm. However staff operate an ‘on call’ system and are contactable outside these hours. Our easy to remember telephone number is 575757