We recently commissioned a video to share on our website and social media channels, providing an insight into what one of our safe houses looks like. Our safe houses provide safe accommodation for women and their children fleeing abusive relationships and constitute just one of Leeway’s services supporting those experiencing domestic abuse.
Inside a Safe House
The video is intended to illustrate what it is like inside one of our safe houses (sometimes referred to as “refuges”) – Leeway runs 7 safe houses across the county of Norfolk. Our safe houses provide a secure and friendly environment for women and their children to plan their future away from danger.
Leeway’s staff provide advice on issues such as housing, benefits, health, safety planning, accessing other agencies and moving on. Over the past year, over 300 women and children have accessed our safe houses and received support.
Importance of Safe Houses
Safe houses are vital because they enable people experiencing domestic abuse to safely flee an abusive relationship, as well as get support to start their new life free from abuse.
Nationwide, safe house provision is unable to keep up with the demand. Women’s Aid found that 60% of refuge referrals in 2017/18 were declined, with over 1 in 6 of these due to a lack of space. When there are not enough spaces, that means that people are being turned away and forced to remain with a perpetrator or find an alternative place to stay.
A few months ago, we explored the links between homelessness and domestic abuse on our blog.
Women’s Aid found 1 in 10 women slept rough whilst waiting for a refuge space – highlighting the urgent need to increase provisions across the country.
The government announced earlier in the year that they would place a legal duty on local councils to provide refuge services and will receive funding from the Treasury to deliver this.
This is a welcome step and would hopefully work to eliminate the postcode lottery for services, especially in rural areas. Funding must also be made available for other services, such as community-based services, support for children and young people, and those with additional needs.
Without funding for these vital services, many people experiencing domestic abuse will be unable to access the support that they desperately need.
Leeway have a 24-hour emergency contact number for people who are experiencing domestic abuse in Norfolk and Suffolk: 0300 561 0077
The National Domestic Violence Helpline number is 0808 2000 247
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