Coming into a refuge can be daunting. We understand that you have been through an extremely difficult time and that you may be anxious about the next few days, weeks and months.

You may be considering coming into a refuge for the first time or you may have been in one before. Either way, this section is a good source of information for you about staying in a refuge, including:
• How you will get the support and services you need
• How our refuge is run and managed
• The paperwork that you will need to know about
• How to get further information


What is a refuge?

A refuge is:
• a confidential address where women and children can go if they are escaping domestic abuse.
• a safe place where there is staff available to support you in deciding what you want to do next.
• a safe place to stay while you gather your thoughts, begin to think about what you want to do next, and perhaps even start the process of making a new life for yourself.

In the refuge you will be with people who understand what you are feeling, which gives you the opportunity to gain support in a safe environment. By sharing your feelings and listening to others you can make friends and start to rebuild your self-confidence. In the refuge you will not be judged or blamed for the abuse. Being in the refuge means choosing for yourself what you are going to do and when you are going to do it.

Keeping the location of the refuge a secret is VERY important and so is ensuring that the refuge is kept secure so that everyone can relax and feel safe.

• WAVE does not make decisions for women
• WAVE does not encourage women to either stay with or leave their partner. This decision is the sole responsibility of the woman.
• WAVE will support a woman in any decision she makes.

In our refuge, you have the use of a furnished en-suite bedroom plus the shared use of the communal facilities including:
• residents’ lounge
• bathroom
• laundry room
• kitchen
• dining room

When you first arrive at the refuge:

• You will be shown round the refuge, your room and the areas you will share with other women and children.
• You will be introduced to the other residents (If you arrive late at night this may happen the following day). Every effort will be made to ensure you are made to feel as comfortable as possible.
• If you do not have any clothes, toiletries or food, please inform a member of staff, and we will make sure that you have food for the first 24 hours. After that, we can help you get any shopping in that you need or collect any personal belongings from your home if this is what you want to do. If you wish to return home to collect any belongings, we can arrange for the police to go with you to ensure your safety.

Settling in/ First few days

Many people feel confused or upset when they first arrive. However everything will be done to help you to settle in and get used to things. It is very important that you can feel safe in the refuge.

As part of settling you in at the refuge, you will meet your support worker who will answer any questions you may have and begin to look at how best we can support you during your stay with us. They

• help you complete any paperwork we need, including your tenancy agreement, a risk assessment and management plan if there are safety issues for you or about you, plus housing benefit and other welfare benefit forms if you are eligible for these. It is advisable that you wait to talk to a Support Worker before applying for any loans or grants, as we can assist you with these.
• explain the house rules to you.
• check that you understand everything and are comfortable with it.

Don’t worry if you can’t take everything in at once! Staff are on hand to answer any of your questions and we can go over anything you are unsure about.

Remember, you are not alone. We are here to help!