What is a Refuge?
A refuge is safe and secure, furnished, temporary accommodation for those with or without children escaping domestic abuse.
There are hundreds of refuges across the UK offering a variety of services. Some provide 24 hour support, whilst others provide support during the day and an on-call service during other times.
There are some refuges that are specifically for those from particular ethnic or cultural backgrounds, for example Black, Asian or South American women. This enables the refuge to be tailored around particular religious and cultural needs. Some refuges have disabled access and can accommodate special needs and disabilities.
The address and location of a refuge must be kept confidential to ensure the safety of all its residents. Visitors are generally not allowed with the exception of some professionals.
Who can go into Refuge?
Those who are experiencing any form of domestic abuse can access refuge.
It’s important to note that refuges will rarely accept an individual /family from their immediate local area for safety reasons.
If you are supporting someone to find refuge accommodation, it’s important to be clear about this in order to manage their expectations and allow them to make an informed decision.
Some things to consider:
- If the victim is heavily reliant on a support network (i.e. family and friends) then moving hundreds of miles away could be detrimental rather than beneficial. It’s weighing up the risks vs the benefits.
- If the victim or their children have complex needs, it may result in difficulty finding suitable refuge accommodation.
- If the victim or their children need regular access to specialist medical care, they might want to consider a refuge that is within travelling distance of this care.
- If the victim needs to maintain court ordered contact then moving to a refuge hundreds of miles away without good transport links could be an issue.
EDAN Lincs Refuge
EDAN Lincs has a range of refuge accommodation throughout Lincolnshire from multi-occupancy and self-contained accommodation, to specialist units and dispersed safe houses in the community.
Refuge staff provide a warm and welcoming environment to those accessing the service.
Refuge staff can help with;
- Emotional and practical support
- Claiming benefits
- Finding schools
- Registering with a Doctor
- Seeking legal advice
- Finding permanent housing including making a housing application.
- Accessing support in relation to immigration issues
- Arranging support from other agencies
- Going to Court
- Support for children
Making a referral to EDAN Lincs Refuge
Please ensure you have the victim’s consent to make the refuge referral.
If you wish to make a referral into EDAN Lincs Refuge or just want an informal chat about the process, please contact:
EDAN Lincs Refuge on 01522 510041
Mon – Fri – 8.30am – 7pm
Sat – 10am – 5pm
Alternatively, please download the refuge referral form here Refuge Referral Download Doc
Email the completed referral form to email@example.com
On receipt of a referral, an in-depth assessment is completed with the victim to individually assess safety and suitability of refuge accommodation. A decision is usually made within 24 hours of receiving the referral and the outcome will be fed back to the victim and referrer.
Refuge accommodation in other areas.
If the victim you are supporting is currently living in Lincolnshire they may wish to consider travelling further away in order to feel safe.
We can assist with this as we have access to refuge vacancies across the UK.
For those living in Lincolnshire they can contact EDAN Lincs Refuge.
Outside of office hours please contact the
24 hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247
Most refuges accept referrals from professionals. However, it’s likely the refuge will want to speak with the victim directly (as well as the professional) in order to seek consent and discuss their referral and support needs.
Other accommodation options for those experiencing domestic abuse.
There are four options:
- A victim with or without children should be able to access emergency accommodation through their local council, such as a hostel, hotel or bed and breakfast. As a professional you can make a referral to the local authority on their behalf. See Lincolnshire Duty to Refer Protocol for further information. Click To download form here.
If someone is fleeing domestic abuse and there is a risk of violence they are entitled to apply to any local authority of their choosing for housing. It is not necessary to have a local connection in cases of domestic violence.
- They may want to ask friends or family if they can stay with them temporarily if it is safe to do so. However, bear in mind that they might be more accessible to the abuser in these circumstances.
- Private renting could be an option. For more help and information on general housing options they could contact their local council housing department.
- If they want to stay in their own home, they may want to consider an injunction to protect themselves and their children and to keep the abuser away Click here for information on injunctions
A person is most at risk when they leave an abusive relationship so safety planning is key to ensuring the victim and their children’s safety.
Click Here-Safety planning guidelines for important safety advice for those considering leaving an abusive relationship.
How will they get to refuge?
Refuge staff will explore travel options with the victim and provide guidance and support in arranging travel.
There is a scheme called Rail to Refuge. This is a joint initiative between rail companies and Women’s Aid in which train operators cover the cost of train tickets for women, men and children escaping domestic abuse travelling to refuge accommodation. For further information click here
What to take to the refuge?
If possible and safe to do so, the victim should try to take:
- Identification – birth certificates, passport, driving licence
- Any school and medical records, contact telephone numbers of the school, GP or health visitor.
- Money, bank cards, cheque book and credit cards
- Keys – house, car, office
- Prescribed medication and vitamin supplements
- Benefit letters
- Visas and work permits
- Mortgage details or lease and rental agreements
- Current unpaid bills
- Insurance documents
- Address book
- Personal items – photographs, small items of sentimental value, the children’s favorite items or small toys. Clothes and toiletries.
If it’s not safe for the victim to gather these items they should not do so. The most important thing is getting them to a place of safety.