Council provides new refuge accommodation for victims of domestic support

A new facility which provides refuge accommodation for victims and families affected by domestic abuse has been officially opened in Watford as a result of a partnership between Hertfordshire County Council and Safer Places.

In October, following a review of Hertfordshire’s refuge accommodation service, Hertfordshire County Council announced a partnership with a new lead provider, charity Safer Places. Safer Places provides a 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.

The event coincides with Hertfordshire’s wider Spotlight on Domestic Abuse campaign.

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, executive member for adult care and health at Hertfordshire County Council, 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.”

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