A refuge is a safe house for women and children experiencing domestic violence and abuse where they can live safely while they decide what to do next. It offers temporary accommodation and a breathing space where decisions can be made free from pressure and fear. During their stay in a refuge women can access emotional and practical support from staff who listen to what they have been through.
Who can go to a refuge?
Any woman who has experienced domestic violence or abuse (emotional, sexual, financial) can go to a refuge.
How do I get into a Refuge?
You may get in touch with a refuge directly yourself through their Helpline. If you need to go to a refuge in an emergency the Gardai can take you. Your local GP, social worker, community worker all have lists of refuges in your area and can make a referral to a refuge.
What will happen when I go to a refuge?
Clare Haven refuge is open 24 hours a day. When you first arrive a refuge worker will welcome you in. She will sit down with you in a private room to talk to you. If you have children with you, they can stay with you or they may go to the playroom if it is open.
The refuge worker will usually ask you a few questions about your situation, and you can ask her any question you have about the refuge. If you’re too upset to talk, or if the children need to be settled immediately you will be asked for a minimal amount of information.
You will be shown to your room and given any emergency supplies you need (subject to the refuge having them in stock). When you are ready, you will be given a chance to meet with a support worker who will talk you through your options and put a support plan in place for you.
What should I bring with me?
It is a good idea to bring some things with you but this is not always possible if you have to leave in an emergency. Once you arrive at the refuge you will be given emergency supplies until you are able to get any additional items you may want. 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.
Where will I go if the Refuge is full?
If the refuge is full your situation will be assessed and every endeavour will be made to secure you a place in a refuge as close by as possible.