We welcome women and children into our refuges who have been subjected to any kind of domestic abuse, including emotional and psychological abuse, so called “honour- based” abuse or human trafficking.
We take referrals from individual and professionals and, if we cannot accommodate you in one of our own refuges, we can help you find refuge accommodation elsewhere. You may also wish to consider some of our other safe accommodation options.
Our refuges have fully accessible facilities for people with a range of disabilities. We can also provide things like hearing loops for people who are deaf and translation support for women who do not speak English. We want our accommodation to be as accessible and inclusive as possible and will work with you to meet your individual needs.
Refuge not only provides a safe roof over women and children’s heads, but also the specialist support that is needed at that difficult time. Our highly trained, female domestic abuse practitioners provide trauma informed support to help survivors and their children understand and recover from their abuse. They help families to build on their strengths and develop the resilience to live safe and happy lives, free from abuse.
Our refuges are affiliated to WAFE (Women’s Aid Federation of England) which means that we fully support the WAFE principle of an open-door policy, believing women’s accounts of their experiences rather than requiring independent proof or evidence of domestic abuse.
Once you are in a safe place you can begin to recover from the effects of the abuse you have been subjected to. Recovering from the trauma can take time and you may experience a range of symptoms, which might include extreme sadness or depression, anxiety, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), where you have flashbacks, nightmares, or physical symptoms such as trembling and sweating. The staff at refuge will help you to understand why you are experiencing these symptoms and will work with you to develop techniques to overcome them.
“My worker was such an inspiration. She pulled me out of the darkness and gave me light. I left the refuge a new person, feeling empowered, which led me to getting a work placement and on a Level 2 Adult Social Care course.”
If you are in immediate danger, you should call 999. If you would like to plan to go to refuge, we can help you do so safely. You can call one of our helpline numbers: 03000 110 110 if you live in North Yorkshire / Barnsley or 0808 808 2241 if you are in Sheffield. You will be supported through the process by a trained practitioner. You can also call the National 24- hour Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247
If you are planning to leave your partner, we can help you to do so safely. When someone leaves their partner, this can put them at more risk, as the abusive partner may feel they are losing control and so may use more extreme measure to try and regain some control. You can call our helpline and our experienced practitioners will talk through things that you can do to help you leave more safely.
When you arrive, we will give you time and space to settle. We understand that leaving home can be traumatic for you and your children, so will work at a pace that feels comfortable for you. You will be shown your room and the other areas of the refuge, such as the kitchen and communal living areas. We will introduce you to other residents and the staff who are working that day. If you have had to leave suddenly and do not have basic things like food and toiletries, we will provide those for you. Soon after arriving, you will be asked to sign a license agreement, which explains some steps we need to take to keep everyone safe; for example, we ask that you do not tell anyone where the refuge is, and you do not have visitors to the refuge.
Each of our refuges are slightly different. Our refuge in York is purpose built and has 10 bedrooms, each of them different sizes. There are kitchen and laundry facilities that families share and a sitting room, playroom and large garden for families to enjoy. You can spend as little or as much time as you like mixing with the other residents and you can come and go as you wish. We ask that you let staff know if you are staying out overnight, that you show respect to the other residents and staff, and that you do not disclose the address of the refuge to anyone. You will have a dedicated key worker who will agree a plan of support with you and any children you bring will also have a dedicated children’s worker. We also have workers, who support you whilst in refuge to prepare for your resettlement and they will continue to see you if you move into a property in our area.
Our Harrogate refuge is a large house, set in beautiful grounds and has 8 rooms, including 2 self-contained flats, one of which is fully wheelchair accessible. There are also communal kitchens, playroom and living area.
The refuge in Northallerton is purpose built and has 14 self-contained units, with some communal space, and the Barnsley refuge can accommodate 8 families with each family having access to their own kitchen and bathroom.
We cannot store large items like furniture for you in refuge, so it is best to bring any personal items that you need, such as clothes, as well as any important documents like your passport.
Unfortunately, you cannot usually bring pets to refuge, and we understand that this can be very upsetting for families, however you may be able to take small pets into some of our other safe accommodation. We will do our best to help you find foster care for your animals whilst you are staying in refuge, but it is not always possible.
Our aim is to ensure that anyone fleeing from abuse is provided with the right support for them. We will talk with you, or the person referring you, about all your needs, including any drug or alcohol use. If we believe we can meet your needs, we will accommodate you in one of our refuges or discuss the option of moving into one of our self-contained dispersed units, but if we feel your support needs would be better met elsewhere, we will support you to access alternative accommodation where we can.
IDAS is the largest specialist charity in Yorkshire supporting people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.