News – Launch of New Manchester Family Refuge

A new refuge to support victims of domestic abuse is set to launch in Trafford.

The accommodation space, introduced by Trafford’s Domestic Abuse Services (TDAS), will cost around £15,000 and needs the appropriate CCTV installations, safety measures and essentials for victims.

The charity had planned to complete an abseil in central Manchester to raise funds for the project, but this was cancelled for logistical reasons.

Now, they have set up a direct fund raising scheme and are encouraging the Trafford community to give whatever support they can.

Sam Fisher, CEO of TDAS, said: “The need is there, the more families we can get into that safe space sooner, the better.

“We’re committed to being that service that survivors need. Too often people assume what’s needed, but we want to make domestic abuse everybody’s business and raise awareness of what constitutes domestic abuse.”

The refuge will feature a purpose-built playroom for children affected and specialist support workers will be on hand to help youngsters work through their experiences in one to one and group sessions.

Domestic abuse affects one in three women and one in six men across the UK.

The aim is for the charity to get the keys for the new refuge on October 1, with a view to kitting out the site and get families in need living there from November 1, if not sooner.

Ms Fisher added: “I’m so pleased children are a priority in Trafford and are being seen as victims in their own right, as that’s not often the case. It’s that longer term impact that we see for children who have witnessed domestic abuse.

“We see children who were born and brought up in refuges coming to them as adults – we really need to break that cycle.”

TDAS set up a new refuge for single women fleeing abuse last year, known as the Lotus refuge and also has its pre-existing Phoenix refuge.

The charity wants its asking service users to help choose the name for the new family refuge.

Trafford council is also currently consulting the public on what it can do to best support domestic abuse survivors and locate gaps in its services.

Coun Graham Whitham, executive member for communities and partnerships, said: “It is truly appalling that there are people living in fear in their own homes. Domestic abuse isn’t just about violence.

“Abuse can be physical, psychological, sexual, emotional or even financial. What is important for us as a council is that we have the right structures in place to help prevent instances of domestic abuse in the first place.

“Where it is happening, we need to make sure we work well with our partners so those suffering abuse are aware of how they can be helped and are protected.

“It is really important that we can help stop the scourge of domestic abuse so please help us develop our plans. Above all, if you are suffering from domestic abuse, please know that we can help you. You are not alone and we are there to support you.”

As part of the consultation, the council is looking for people’s views on the services for domestic abuse victims, as well as possible support for potential domestic abuse perpetrators, to help them address and change their behaviour.

TDAS has been closely involved in this process, with those it supports providing vital insight about their experiences.

Ms Fisher said: “For us it’s vital that survivors’ voices are heard when shaping services. We encourage survivors to fill in information in needs assessments.

“There’s a lot of demand, and it’s increasing and quite substantial – there are waiting lists for all of our services.

“And we’re seeing complexities in people’s needs – people need that longer term support, more accommodation. We’ve secured some but it’s still not enough.

“But it’s good that the council are now recognising what we’ve been focusing on for a few years now. The council have been very supportive and treat us as experts, taking our advice on these matters.”

TDAS also delivers training packages for employers who wish to better support their staff who may be victims of domestic abuse.

A pilot scheme for corporate firms is being rolled out, with the hope of expanding this offer further into the future.

To have your say on the domestic abuse consultation, click here.

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