About Refuge

We offer temporary, crisis accommodation for women fleeing domestic violence and abuse.

Welwyn Hatfield Women’s Refuge aims to:

  • Provide a decent standard of accommodation to women and children fleeing domestic violence and abuse where they can feel safe
  • Provide advice, information and support with claiming benefits, seeking legal help, immigration issues, schools, doctors and the police
  • Provide help, information and advice about safe resettlement for women and children escaping domestic violence – whether you’re in Refuge or not
  • Provide practical and emotional support and crisis counselling – whether you’ve escaped yet, or not
  • Provide facilities for children and Children’s Workers to support and advocate for them

Our objectives

  • Victims are safer and have improved resources to remain safe
  • Women and children are empowered to improve their life chances through our advocacy services
  • To up-skill women to improve their work opportunities through workshops and e-learning
  • Victims receive responsive services and well coordinated service pathways, which support sustained recovery and mitigation of the risks of further abuse and homelessness
  • All victims are offered and equally accessible service which meets their needs
  • Victims report improved health, wellbeing and resilience for themselves and their families
  • Reduce future interventions by police and social services and burden on the public purse, with reduced emergency admissions due to harm and children’s life chances are vastly improved.

Children in Refuge

Children generally enjoy their time in Refuge. There are always plenty of other children around to play with and they feel safe.
See Child Services page

What you can expect

How will I get there?

When you come into our Refuge we will collect you from an agreed meeting place. You won’t be able to tell your family and friends where you’re staying and they won’t be able to visit you at the Refuge. A Refuge is a safe house and all the women and children who live there need it to stay safe.

Will I be safe?

Our Refuge is fully covered by 24 hour CCTV that is monitored and recorded. Everything you say to Refuge workers is confidential. We won’t ever confirm or deny that you’re staying in the Refuge unless there are Child Protection issues or we’re forced to do so by a Court Order. Before we work with our partnering agencies or individuals we will seek your permission to do so.

Safeguarding Policy for Vulnerable Adults

We adhere to the six principles of safeguarding.

To read this policy download here

Screwix financially supports security equipment

What’s the accommodation like?

WHWR offers good quality accommodation for up to ten women and their children (up to 25) at any one time in our safe Refuge.
Each family has their own en-suite room, share a kitchen with another family or have their own kitchen dependent on the size of the family.  Within the Refuge there are communal facilities including sitting rooms for women and children, a laundry, a creche, after school homework space, counselling room, an adult educational centre and training room plus a garden.

  • You are responsible for keeping your accommodation and kitchens clean and tidy.
  • The Refuge and creche is deep cleaned regularly and there are COVID-19 protocols in place which are inline with government guidelines.

What do I have to pay?

You have to pay rent for your room at the Refuge. If you’re on benefits this will usually be paid by Housing Benefit. If you’re working we’ll be able to calculate how much Housing Benefit you’re likely to get and how much rent you’ll be expected to pay yourself plus an amount towards the fuel bills and cleaning materials.

How long can I stay?

Women can stay in the Refuge for up to four months. Some women may simply need a few weeks break from their situation while, for others, Refuge is the first step to a whole new life. All women receive the same level of service and support from the workers regardless of how long they stay.

What support will I get?

In an emergency, Refuge Workers will help you with your immediate needs, safety plans, medical attention, clothes, food, toiletries etc. During your stay we offer:

  • Emotional support
  • Help to arrange a police escort to collect your things
  • Help to claim benefits
  • Help finding schools for your children
  • Help registering with a Doctor
  • Help with seeing a solicitor
  • Help with housing issues
  • Mental Health Counselling
  • Help with immigration issues
  • Help with your safe resettlement
  • Help arranging support from other agencies
  • Help with going to Court

When you decide to stay in Refuge we expect you to do your bit too!

We aim to empower you to take charge of the situation through participation in our workshops which include financial management, well-being classes to gain an understanding of your circumstances and how best to help your children. You will also have access to e-learning to upskill and craft your CV’s to improve your job opportunities.

What to bring

 **If you’re escaping in an emergency, none of these things matter**

The important thing is for you and your children to get out safely. You don’t need to have bruises or broken bones to be experiencing domestic violence. Refuge Workers will never judge the type or the extent of the abuse you’ve been through.

When you’re planning to come into our Refuge you will need to bring with you:

  • ID – as much as you can – even your last gas or electicity bill if your name’s on it but especially:
    • your passport
    • your driving licence
    • your birth certificate and marriage certificate if applicable
    • your children’s birth certificates and passports
  • Benefit award letters
  • your last three bank statements
  • cheque book, bank and credit cards
  • if you’re working, your last two month’s or five week’s wage slips
  • all your immigration documents from the Home Office, if applicable
  • any medication that you or your children need
  • clothes for you and your children, including night things if possible
  • toiletries and towels
  • money and some food
  • your address book, diary, house and car keys, jewellery, letters, photos and anything that’s precious to you.