New refuge accommodation marks new beginning for victims of domestic abuse and services to support them in Hertfordshire

Published: 30 Nov 2017


A new facility providing refuge accommodation for victims and families affected by domestic abuse was officially opened today (29 November) in Watford. 

The occasion was marked with a ribbon cutting opening ceremony by Colette Wyatt-Lowe, Executive Member for Adult Care and Health at Hertfordshire County Council; there was a celebratory event where guests heard directly from people who had experienced abuse and also key staff who work tirelessly to support them through their journey.

In October, following a review of our refuge accommodation service, we announced that we had partnered with a new lead provider, independent charity Safer Places. Safer Places provide a comprehensive range of services to men, women and children affected by domestic and sexual abuse living in Hertfordshire. They also have subcontracting arrangements in place with both St Albans and Hertsmere Women’s Refuge and Welwyn and Hatfield Women’s Refuge to bring together over 100 years of combined experience in delivering front line domestic abuse services.

This event coincides with our wider Spotlight on Domestic Abuse campaign where every four days throughout the campaign, we will focus on reaching a specific group of people who are more likely to experience barriers or difficulties in seeking advice, reporting incidents or getting help.  From today until 2 December we will be shining a spotlight on domestic abuse against men.

This year Safer Places and St Albans and Hertsmere Woman’s Refuge (SAHWR) have directly supported 23 men affected by incidents of domestic abuse. SAHWR also have been given online support to a further 15 male victims and they have a specialist website designed to support men which has received over 560 visitors.

Janet Dalrymple, CEO of Safer Places said; “The service we offer is community focussed; we have 60 units of refuge accommodation plus a brand new community based service to support victims to move on. Four of these spaces are allocated to specifically support single males and/or men with children who need our help.”

“We are particularly keen to ensure that people who may find it difficult to come forward and use our services, such as male victims of domestic abuse and people from minority communities are reached. We have accommodation available for men along with many wider specialist resources available to support more vulnerable residents who need our help.”

“This new facility in Watford marks a new chapter for our partnership with Hertfordshire County Council and we’re looking forward to helping residents at risk.”

Colette Wyatt-Lowe, said,  “I’m delighted to have been asked to officially open this new accommodation and I hope that this marks a new beginning for some of the people who seek refuge and support here.”

“Hertfordshire County Council and its partners are committed to providing a safe refuge for victims and their children who are fleeing from, or are at risk of domestic abuse and violence. We’re delighted to be working alongside Safer Places as our new provider of refuge services and accommodation for victims of domestic abuse in Hertfordshire. They bring along a vast amount of experience and will offer a fresh community focused approach to the challenges faced by victims and staff working with victims as well as a wide range of support services.”

Visit www.saferplaces.co.uk for more information about Safer Places and the services they offer.