Child & Teenage Service

Many women worry about what being in our Refuge will be like for their children. In our experience most children settle in quickly and then thoroughly enjoy their time in Refuge. We have been working with children who have lived with domestic violence for many years and have built up a wealth of knowledge and experience around the particular needs that children of all ages who are in Refuge may present with.

Safeguarding Policy for Vulnerable Children

We adhere to the six principles of safeguarding.

To read this policy download here

Our Child Support workers can help your children begin to overcome any anxieties and difficulties they may be experiencing as a result of living with domestic violence. They can also help you find ways to manage your child’s behaviour if it has become problematic. There are supervised sessions in the children’s area for children of all age groups and levels of ability with everything from painting, sticking and modelling to cooking in a proper kitchen designed and built for children. The Child Support Workers also organise trips and outings during school holidays and conduct Children’s Meetings where children can develop their communication skills in a more formal setting.

All children of school age must attend school and for safety reasons this usually means starting at a new school. We work closely with local schools to ensure that changing school is as easy as possible for both mothers and children. Child Support Workers will help you find a new school and give you all as much support throughout the process as you feel you need.

Most children thrive in Refuge and many look back on their time with us with fondness and affection. Coming into Refuge changes children’s lives too.

The Refuge has a large garden with an adventure trail for older children and springers, a sandbox and a slide for the little ones.
All children of school age must attend school and the Child Support Workers will offer their help in finding school places for your children. They will also offer you help and guidance if your children are exhibiting distress or behavioural difficulties as a result of living with domestic violence.

“Our Space”

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The Our Space programme within the creche and child education centre aims to improve:

  • A child’s emotional wellbeing
  • Mother, child and family relationships
  • Resilience and self care

And enhance:

  • A child’s education with supervisied digital access to e-learning via donated laptops.
BBC Children In Need Grant

“Our Space” Funded by the “BBC Children In Need Grant”

Mothers and Babies

Support services for pregnant women, new mothers, siblings and their baby

The impact of domestic abuse on pregnant women and new mothers is both multifaceted and extraordinarily complex.

Over one third of domestic abuse starts or increases in pregnancy which in turn increases the likelihood of developing obstetric complications by 37%. These range from infection, prematurity and low birth weight, in addition to the more obvious risks such as miscarriage and maternal infant death.

The impact on mental health is more complex still, 38% of women who experience domestic abuse are later diagnosed with a mental disorder in the years following abuse. With Covid also further increasing domestic violence, offering our service to pregnant women is paramount.

Our refuge supports pregnant women who have fled domestic violence and who are regaining stability in their lives at an incredibly challenging time.

Pregnant Mothers who have been through such upheaval are usually in desperate need for time to process what has happened, rest and later plan for the future. Our child care services provide creche and after school programmes. Our child support leader works closely with key workers and families in welcoming a new baby into a family. This includes parenting, sibling and family sessions. Mothers who are pregnant are also extremely grateful for the child-free time, knowing their children are in safe hands while they take a rest and/or work with our key worker (a former midwife) and health visitor(s) to coordinate a well planned delivery and health regimen for the best possible outcomes for delivering a healthy baby.

For new mothers the prospect of delivering a child without support is a daunting experience. Our key workers are here to help educate, and support a woman through the different stages of her pregnancy. Some women develop diabetes and life threatening conditions,and our staff ensure a woman receives the support she needs every step of the way. We are not a midwifery service. Rather a source and wealth of knowledge and understanding while ensuring pregnant women receive the best care possible through our partnerships with health care and mental health professionals.

Mother & Baby Services are supported by a £5k Hertfordshire Community Foundation Grant.