A refuge is a safe place where women and children who want to escape domestic violence can stay. It is a place where women can have time and space to make decisions free from fear and pressure.
You can refer yourself to a refuge directly by contacting the Support and Resource Centre 028 9066 6049 during office hours, or through the 24 Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline, 0808 802 1414 in the evenings and weekends. Some women are referred to a refuge by a range of agencies such as the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the PSNI and Social Services.
We have three refuges; one in South Belfast, one in North Belfast and one in Lisburn.
The size and style of each refuge varies, but our refuges are usually large houses that have been converted or are purpose built. They are comfortably decorated with good facilities. Bedroom sizes vary – some of the rooms are suitable for a woman coming on her own, and others house women who come with their children. There are also wheelchair-friendly rooms in each refuge. Kitchens and living areas are shared, and all the women living in the refuge are responsible for the various tasks involved in running any home.
In the refuge, children and young people have the opportunity to be involved in group work including personal development programmes. They have one-to-one time with a child worker, who can offer guidance and support in dealing with any worries or concerns they might have inside or outside of refuge.
We have a big playroom for younger children and there is always someone to listen to and support the children, while organising fun things to do. Refuge can be a positive experience for children as it can give them an understanding of what is happening while providing the support they need to deal with what they have experienced at home.You and your children can stay in refuge for as long as you need. Some women only stay a few days, others stay for a longer period of time while they wait to be re-housed.
You and your children can stay in refuge for as long as you need. Some women only stay a few days, others stay for a longer period of time while they wait to be re-housed.