A refuge is a safe house for victims of abuse, and their children, to escape to and access support to help them rebuild their lives and live a life free from abuse.
Our refuges offer self-contained and shared flats across Bournemouth and Poole, one of which is identified as a space specifically for a male. We are able to accommodate single clients with a maximum of five children.
The addresses of our refuges are confidential. Trained and experienced staff are available 24-hours a day on site during office hours to provide practical and emotional support to residents.
Each of our refuges has a playroom, and an outside space for use by families. The playrooms have an emphasis on fun through many different activities, and are very much a place for parents and children to play together, as well as providing an opportunity for children to socialise with others who may have been through similar experiences.
What support will I receive at the refuge?
At BCHA, we are committed to working with those who have suffered from domestic abuse with respect, dignity and sensitivity, enabling victims to regain control of their lives. We recognise that everyone’s needs are unique, so we work with all individuals to create a personalised support plan that helps keep you safe and allows you to move on with your life.
We offer support related to:
- Emotional support in overcoming the effects of living with domestic abuse.
- Welfare benefits advice, and help to manage your financial situation.
- Support if you are considering going to court and help to access legal advice.
- Support in accessing specialist support for your children.
- Signposting you to specialist agencies such as mental health and substance misuse services where relevant, and counseling services.
- Tenancy advice, including joint property and mortgage agreements, and long-term housing options.
- Accessing relevant support networks in the local community.
- School placements for your children.
Who can access our refuges?
- Any woman or man aged 16 and over, with or without children, who has been subjected to any form of domestic abuse, and is a resident in the UK.
- You must be able to financially support yourself and your dependants, or be entitled to public funds such as welfare benefits, or be eligible for the Destitute Domestic Violence Concession (DDVC). For further information about DDVC click here.
- The service is available to anyone who fulfils the criteria irrespective of race, ethnic or national origin, religion (or lack of belief), gender, sexuality, disability or any other characteristic.
- Please note, teenage boys aged over 14 years may need to be assessed prior to admission.
How do I access a BCHA Refuge?
To find out more about any of our domestic abuse services and how to access them, call one of our 24-hour helplines where our friendly staff will be able to offer you confidential advice and support:
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole: 01202 710777
Alternatively, referrals to our refuges can be made on your behalf by someone such as your GP, Social Worker, the Police or any other agency you may be working with.
You can also call the National 24-hour Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 who will be able to support anyone throughout the UK looking to find a refuge space to escape domestic abuse.
How long can I stay at a BCHA refuge?
You can stay in our refuges for up to six months. During your stay, staff will work with you to find alternative long-term permanent accommodation to move on to, and give you information about the various options open to you. For example, private rented accommodation, housing provided by the local council, or advising you about returning home if it is safe to do so.
We also offer a resettlement support service for when people move on from the refuge. This is usually for a period of up to six weeks and consists of three visits. This ensures that you are secure, and settled in your new accommodation. If any additional support needs are identified, we will be able to signpost you to local services who can help you.