PO BOX 486

Registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation No: 1156186

(24 hours)

For advice, information and support in the Borough call Welwyn Hatfield Women's Helpline

01707 373743
(9-5 Mon - Fri)

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Women's Refuges offer temporary, crisis accommodation for women fleeing domestic violence and abuse. If you are experiencing neighbourhood violence or threats from your landlord you need to approach your Local Authority for help and advice.

Welwyn Hatfield Women's Refuge aims to:
  • Provide a decent standard of accommodation to women and children fleeing domestic violence and abuse where they can feel safe
  • Provide advice, information and support with claiming benefits, seeking legal help, immigration issues, schools, doctors and the police
  • Provide help, information and advice about safe resettlement for women and children escaping domestic violence - whether you're in Refuge or not
  • Provide practical and emotional support and crisis counselling - whether you've escaped yet, or not
  • Provide facilities for children and Children's Workers to support and advocate for them

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Children in Refuge

Children generally enjoy their time in Refuge. There are always plenty of other children around to play with and they feel safe. The Child Support Workers will regularly open the well equipped children's area and, during school holidays, will organise outings and activities for children of all ages.
The Refuge has a large garden with an adventure trail for older children and springers, a sandbox and a slide for the little ones.
All children of school age must attend school and the Child Support Workers will offer their help in finding school places for your children. They will also offer you help and guidance if your children are exhibiting distress or behavioural difficulties as a result of living with domestic violence.

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What you can expect
  • How will I get there?
If you come into Welwyn Hatfield Women's Refuge you won't be given the address but we will come and collect you from an agreed meeting place. You won't be able to tell your family and friends where you're staying and they won't be able to visit you at the Refuge. A Refuge is a safe house and all the women and children who live there need it to stay safe.
  • Will I be safe?
The Welwyn Hatfield Women's Refuge house is fully covered by 24 hour CCTV that is monitored and recorded. Everything you say to Refuge workers is confidential. We won't ever confirm or deny that you're staying in the Refuge unless there are Child Protection issues or we're forced to do so by a Court Order. We won't talk about you with any other agency or individual without your permission.
  • What's the accommodation like?
In the Welwyn Hatfield Women's Refuge you'll have a furnished, en suite bedroom for yourself and your children. You'll have your own key to your room and all the things you bring with you will be kept there. We don't have room to store large items so please don't bring any furniture with you. You won't be able to bring any pets into the Refuge with you either.
We provide bedding and all kitchen equipment so you won't need to bring those things. You'll share all the other facilites in the house with the other families living there at the time.
  • What do I have to pay? 
You will need to bring £10 with you so that we can give you a key to your room. This is refunded when the key is returned to us. You have to pay rent for your room at the Refuge. If you're on benefits this will usually be paid by Housing Benefit. If you're working we'll be able to calculate how much Housing Benefit you're likely to get and how much rent you'll be expected to pay yourself. Everyone living in the Refuge is expected to pay £10 per week returnable deposit against damage and breakages plus an amount towards the fuel bills and cleaning materials.
  • How long can I stay?
Women can stay in the Refuge for up to four months. Some women may simply need a few weeks break from their situation while, for others, Refuge is the first step to a whole new life. All women receive the same level of service and support from the workers regardless of how long they stay.  
  • What support will I get?
In an emergency, Refuge Workers will help you with your immediate needs - medical attention, clothes, food, toiletries etc. During your stay we may offer:

  • Emotional support
  • Help to arrange a police escort to collect your things
  • Help to claim benefits
  • Help finding schools for your children
  • Help registering with a Doctor
  • Help with seeing a solicitor
  • Help with housing issues
  • Counselling (if you want it)
  • Help with immigration issues
  • Help with your safe resettlement
  • Help arranging support from other agencies
  • Help with going to Court

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What to bring

Because Refuge is temporary, crisis accommodation you can't book a room in advance in a particular Refuge. We will always try to find you Refuge in an area where you'd like to live but this isn't always possible.
If you're planning to escape to a Refuge you will need to take with you:

  • ID - as much as you can - even your last gas or electicity bill if your name's on it but especially: 
  • your passport
  • your driving licence
  • your birth certificate and marriage certificate if applicable
  • your children's birth certificates and passports
  • Benefit award letters
  • your last three bank statements
  • cheque book, bank and credit cards
  • if you're working, your last two month's or five week's wage slips
  • all your immigration documents from the Home Office, if applicable
  • any medication that you or your children need
  • clothes for you and your children, including night things if possible
  • toiletries and towels
  • money and some food
  • your address book, diary, house and car keys, jewellery, letters, photos and anything that's precious to you

    **If you're escaping in an emergency, none of these things matter**

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.

The Refuge sitting room

Our Space - the children's room

The toddler's area

The adventure trail

Kitchen area

A bathroom