Our refuges

Safe, temporary accommodation for women and children escaping domestic abuse with access to one-to-one emotional and practical support.

A refuge is your first stop to safety.

We operate safe houses called “refuges” across the UK for women and children escaping domestic violence. The address is confidential. Much more than a safe roof over a woman or child’s head, refuges are where our specialist staff provide residents with the building blocks they need to begin a new life, free from fear.

Frequently Asked Questions

Any woman experiencing domestic abuse who needs a place of safety for herself can go to a refuge, with or without children.

Many women and children will identify as having accessibility needs, if you’re worried about how you and your children might access a refuge please speak to one of our experienced Helpline staff.

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
  • Support to access civil and criminal remedies and legal advice
  • 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.

Call our 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which acts as the gateway to all services across the country and helps women find a space 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. 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. All rooms will be fully furnished.

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.

Some rooms in our refuges can be equipped with assistive devices, to make sure you’re safe while you stay with us.

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.

One worker will be your key worker. She will meet you at least weekly to make sure you are receiving the emotional and practical 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.

All refuges have trained staff who are there to help you settle in, apply for welfare benefits, and support you with a range of other practical things like registering with a local doctor or school, or dealing with immigration issues.

I felt safe in the refuge - the accommodation had everything I needed. The staff gave me the space and understanding I needed to overcome the trauma of being abused.

Survivor of domestic abuse