Refuge accommodation is safe accommodation for all women and their children who are leaving domestic abuse. The refuge is normally full, and is available on a first come first served basis, based on an assessment of your needs and how safe you are at the moment. If the refuge is full, we will support you to look at other options and enable you to keep yourself and your children as safe as possible. The refuge is open to women who have experience of domestic abuse in same sex relationships, and to transgender women.
What kind of accommodation is available?
Our main refuge accommodation is made up of seven self-contained flats with their own living, cooking and sleeping areas. They are furnished to a high standard, and we try to make them as homely as possible. There is also an office where workers are based, a communal area, a play room for children and space for young people to hang out. There is space to park a car if you have one.
We also have scattered refuge accommodation in the rural areas of Stirlingshire. These refuges are a mix of 3 houses and 1 self-contained flat and are similarly furnished and maintained to a high standard, while retaining a comfortable, homely feel. These refuges are supported by our family outreach service who will come and visit you in refuge regularly to offer practical and emotional support.
How do I get access to refuge?
If you need safe accommodation because you are leaving an abusive relationship, then you can contact us on our advice line (01786 469518) or come to our drop in at Unit 7 of the Stirling Arcade between the hours of 9am and 4.30pm. If there is currently space in the refuge we will do an assessment, which is where we find out how safe you are at the moment and what things you need from us to enable you to get the best from our service. We will also help you find out if you are entitled to housing benefit, and give you copies of our occupancy agreement and refuge rules which make clear what the expectations are of you when you are living in refuge. If there is not space in the refuge we can support you to find alternative accommodation.
How is the refuge paid for?
The refuge is leased from Forth Housing Association, and you would be charged a weekly rent for staying there. You may be eligible for housing benefit, and support workers here can help you find out about this. You will also have to pay £3 a week to contribute to the TV licence; this is paid at the weekly refuge meeting.
What will happen when I'm in refuge?
There are woman's support workers and a children's support worker who are based at the refuge and who are there to provide you with the support you need. They will work with you to make a support plan which will let us know what you're looking to achieve and what your needs are, and how we will support you to achieve these aims and meet your needs. This could mean going to court with you, helping you think about future housing options, or simply providing a listening ear and the emotional support you need to recover from an experience of domestic abuse. We will support you as much as you feel is necessary for you, which could mean meeting a worker once a week or even every day if you're feeling very vulnerable.
Will I be able to spend time with other women who are in refuge?
Many women who have experienced domestic abuse say that they feel isolated by their experiences, and one of the positive things about staying in refuge can be the opportunity to meet other women who have similar experiences to share mutual support. There are several opportunities for you to spend time with other women who in refuge including a compulsory weekly meeting, sharing food together on a Saturday morning and an activities group.
Can my friends come visit me?
Refuge accommodation has to be a safe place for all the women in it, and for this reason we ask that you don't tell people your address when you are staying here. There are no men allowed in refuge, and anyone who allows a man into refuge will be asked to leave. However, you will be allowed two named female family members or friends who can come visit.
How long do people stay in refuge?
The average length of stay in the refuge is about 6 months, and after this length of time we will begin supporting you to move on from refuge into more permanent accommodation. We will do this at a pace that is right for you.
What happens when I leave refuge?
When you leave refuge we will try to ensure that you get some follow-on support to enable you to settle into your new home. This support is generally carried out by our family outreach service who will meet with you before you move on to help with the transition. If you would prefer, you could attend the drop-in to speak to one of the women's support workers.
Will you tell anyone else what I say?
We offer a confidential support service, which means that the only reason we would pass on any information without your permission is if you say something that indicates that a child or a vulnerable adult may be at risk of harm. We will always talk to you if we think we will have to do this.
I'm a wheelchair user. Are refuge flats accessible?
We have one refuge flat that is accessible for wheelchair users. If this flat is occupied, we will support you to find other accessible, safe accommodation. If you have additional refuge requirements, please let us know so that we can ensure that your time in the refuge is as comfortable as possible.
Is the refuge registered with the Care Inspectorate?
The organisation is currently registered with the Care Inspectorate as a provider of housing support services and the majority of workers are registered with the Scottish Social Services Council.
"I arrived at the women's aid refuge in Stirling not knowing what to expect and it was a scary feeling. Having said that, my fear was soon put to rest when I saw the flat which was like a real home. The self-contained flats within the building are furnished to a high standard and furnished with everything you require, very comfortable and relaxing. Being able to close your own front door for privacy and space in my opinion is a vital part of the process you go through and I can safely say if I didn't have that I would not still be here."
Quote from woman using refuge