What is refuge?3 Jul 2018
For a long time, there has been a misconception that refuges are rundown and cramped with too many people living in tiny rooms. And when Women's Aid organisations first began 40 years ago this may well have been the case, but nowadays this couldn't be further from the truth.
In the 1970s and 80s, Women's Aid organisations faced major challenges such as a lack of understanding about domestic abuse and extremely limited funds but now we have the resources to ensure our refuge accommodation is warm, bright, comfortable and secure.
Despite the stigma that can be attached to the word 'refuge', it is basically a safe place for women, children and young people to stay temporarily, that allows them to live free from danger and fear.
Not all women want, or need, to move into refuge but for those who do, we always carry out risk assessments before offering accommodation. It's important that we can determine if the area is safe and ensure that the perpetrator and/or his family don't frequent nearby. All addresses are confidential and most are monitored externally by CCTV.
All Women's Aids provide various options but we have two types of accommodation that women can be offered in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. We have a communal refuge with a number of en-suite bedrooms and shared kitchen and living areas, and we also have a number of individual one, two and three-bedroom flats.
It's important to us that women and their children feel comfortable and safe in our refuges so we ensure that our accommodation is fully furnished and decorated, equipped to a high standard and inspected regularly. In our communal refuge, women can also decide how social or private they would like to be. Some residents prefer to cook for just themselves and their children whereas others enjoy sharing cooking responsibilities with other residents and eating together.
Whether in a private flat or communal refuge, all women are supported by our Women's Workers who meet with them regularly and offer advice and support for dealing with benefits, housing and legal issues, as well as how to best make plans for the future. Our Children and Young People's Workers will also work closely with children to allow them to explore their feelings and experiences confidentially.
If you're experiencing domestic abuse and need a safe place to stay, contact us on 01224 593381.