Our main refuge is a purpose-built property that offers support services for families and single women who are fleeing in crisis due to domestic abuse, and who need a safe place to begin to move on after leaving an abusive relationship.
We are fortunate to also have the use of two safe houses, which enable our clients to have the support of the refuge team, while living more independently. Sometimes single women are supported together in these houses. We can also support single men in this way. Men with children can also be fully supported in the safe houses.
We have eight rooms in our main refuge and, combined with our safe houses, we can offer 34 bed spaces in total. Residents in our main refuge have their own room, which they share with their children, and the rest of the living space is communal (bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, TV area, and laundry facilities). There is access to a playroom and we also have an outside space for families to use.
Women and children are offered a package of support during their stay. This aims to build self-confidence, support recovery, and increase safety through support planning, one-to-one key-working sessions and group work. This work is delivered via a highly experienced and dedicated team, which includes women support workers and a children’s support team, overseen by a project manager.
The refuge is fully staffed during office hours, with the additional support of an out-of-hours worker during evenings and weekends.
Our ethos is to work with the family as a whole, and we offer the following services:
- For women, we offer practical support and signposting to resources such as housing, benefits and legal services, and we support women during subsequent court cases. We provide emotional support through one-to-one meetings with workers and group sessions with other residents. We also hold regular ‘house meetings’ when everyone is encouraged to find their voice, offer ideas and feed into the service, for the benefit of all residents.
- For children, we have family intervention work, which focuses on therapeutic one-to-one sessions and group work with the children, as well as supporting mums and their children to heal and recover from their experiences together. Each child in the refuge has a tailored plan of support, which includes help in accessing a new educational setting. Our team works closely with partner agencies to ensure that children continue to thrive as they resettle into new homes following their time in the refuge.
The playroom has an emphasis on fun through many different activities. It’s a place for mums and children to play together, as well as being somewhere for the children to spend time with others staying here. There are structured and therapeutic group play sessions and one-to-one support for families who have decided to take part in therapeutic family intervention as part of their recovery programme.
We recognise that the women and children who come to us for support have experienced a huge amount of loss, and we aim to support their recovery with a programme of support that draws on the varied skills of our staff team and our beautiful surroundings here in north Devon. With the support of our community we are also fortunate to be able to offer the following:
- Surf and cold water therapy. Surf lessons for women and children are provided by a local surf school.
- Art therapy, which is provided by a local art gallery.
We are a small, friendly and dedicated team who aim to keep families safe and promote healthy relationships.