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What to expect coming into refuge

Moving into an unfamiliar environment, leaving personal possessions behind and having to share accommodation with others is a very difficult time for everyone. Life in refuge is not easy, it is an unknown environment and not knowing how long it will be before you are re-housed or waiting whilst occupation orders are obtained to enable you to return to your own home can be challenging.

Alongside this, if you are a parent having to cope with the anxieties of your children leaving their familiar environment and extended family, not knowing when appropriate school places will be available is especially hard.

Support staff endeavour to identify how victims feel and they are committed to making refuge a nice space to live in, supporting residents to move forward in their lives, helping victims to regain their self-esteem and confidence, often with no support from family or friends. When a family moves into refuge a comprehensive support plan is provided.

Areas of support include:

  • Staying Safe

  • Being Healthy

  • Economic Wellbeing

  • Enjoying and Achieving

  • Making a Positive Contribution


Support staff have a broad depth of knowledge to ensure families can access all services to ensure new skills are learnt, helping families move forward in their lives and enabling them to live a life free from abuse and fear. We have strict policies in place to ensure the location of our refuges remain confidential. No visitors apart from pre-arranged appointment with professionals are allowed.

I have arrived with nothing

On occasions, women and their children will flee domestic violence quickly and as a result will have no personal possessions with them at all. Don’t worry, the basics can be provided and support staff will work with you to seek financial support.

How long can I stay in refuge?

Some clients stay only a few days, others for a few months whilst they wait for accommodation in a new community. Our refuge gives you temporary accommodation while we support you to find suitable accommodation.


If I leave a refuge, can I go back?

We understand that in some cases, you may choose to leave the refuge, but later need safe accommodation again for you and your children.  Depending upon availability, you will be able to go back either into the same refuge or another if you need it.


If however, you have broken the rules of the license agreement and asked to leave, it may not be possible for you to return and you may be referred elsewhere.


Moving on

Many of our ex-residents still use our organisation for our outreach services, forming bonds and life-long friendships, quite often mentoring and supporting new service users. We also provide a Resettlement programme to provide support to residents who have just moved out of one of our refuges.

Many women have endured domestic abuse at the hands of their partner for decades, but it is never too late to leave and change your life

Click here to see how Caroline with NDAS's support broke the cycle of abuse is now leading a happy and fulfilled life.

Note: Where we have used case studies, all names and identifying details have been changed to protect identities. 


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