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empowering victims and survivors to live a life free from domestic abuse

“I escaped to the refuge from a forced marriage. The bilingual staff understood my needs and supported my choices – finally, I was safe.”

We will give emotional and practical support to help you organise your life, putting a plan together with your support worker to set achievable goals to regain your confidence.

We can help by providing:

  • A safe space to stay on a temporary basis for up to six months, or longer if needed
  • Emotional and therapeutic support to overcome the abuse
  • Support with housing, resettlement, setting up a new home and staying safe
  • Support with finances and debt management
  • Support for health issues such as drug and/or alcohol use
  • Support to help children feel safe and positive as they overcome the abuse
  • Language (if English is your second language), faith and culture support
  • Support for disabilities (an additionally accessible suite available at Burnley)
  • Access to legal support and support with court and criminal justice process
  • Help to consider your future access to education, training and employment
  • Any other individual or personal support needs you may have.

Our team is experienced, extensively trained and dedicated to tackling domestic abuse in all its forms. We work closely with partner agencies to achieve the best outcomes for you.

Staying safe

“One of the best decisions I made was coming here. After many years of abuse, I finally felt safe to plan a positive future. It’s made me stronger. Refuge life is about women empowering women.”

If you are suffering from domestic abuse, it can be difficult to know where to get help. Remember that you’re not alone – we can help you to escape abuse and create a safer future.

Our refuge accommodation in both Burnley and Lancaster offer a safe, supportive, communal environment where you’re supported to take back control of your life.

They are open all year round and staffed 24/7 by experienced domestic abuse practitioners.

We have specialist bi-lingual support workers who support your language, faith or culture needs and have expertise dealing with forced marriages and honour based violence, and specialist workers to support any additional health needs, including mental health, drug and alcohol use, disabled and long term illness, and reproductive and sexual health.

We have specialist workers to support your cildren to deal with and overcome their experience of abuse.

We will work to meet their needs and to ensure that their education is not disrupted while you are staying with us.

If you need our support, get in touch and you could be meeting with us within hours.

We will help you by giving you the space and support to build your confidence, and take back control to make your own choices to lead a safer life free from domestic abuse.

Frequently asked questions

“The CCTV and having staff onsite at all times made me feel safe and calmed my anxiety.”

Your safety is of the highest importance. Our staff are on-site 24 hours a day to ensure a safe environment, and they operate entry and exit to and from the refuge. Our locations are confidential, and we use a range of high-quality security features, including CCTV, a night-time alarm system, security fencing and emergency police response via a ‘panic button’.

See our frequently asked questions for more information.

Where can I find help or information?

There are many people you can contact:

  • Talk to us on the SafeNet Helpline (Mon – Fri 10am – 5pm) 0300 303 3581.
  • National Domestic Violence Helpline (24 hour) 0808 2000 247.
  • In an emergency, always phone 999.

Am I experiencing domestic abuse?

Sometimes it’s difficult to know:

  • Does your partner threaten you and your children?
  • Are you and your children often frightened by your partner?
  • Are you constantly degraded and picked on?
  • Are you not allowed to have contact with friends and family?
  • Does your partner constantly check where you have been, how much you spend, who you speak to?

Domestic violence covers a range of behaviours within all types of relationships, including physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse. It can be carried out by men against women, women against men, within same sex relationships, and by family members. It can affect anyone regardless of social group, age, ability, ethnic origin or sexuality. It can be from a current or ex partner.

Domestic violence can have devastating effects on the well-being and development of children who witness it.

What can I do?

If you are being abused, it is useful to talk to someone about what has happened, even if you don’t want to do anything about it. Call our helpline on 0300 303 3581. Getting someone to record the incidents will help if you do decide to take action.

Remember – telling someone doesn’t mean you have to do anything. There are places to go where you can just talk in confidence. It’s important to protect yourself by documenting your experience of abuse. Most agency workers will document what has happened if you request it.

What if I want to leave?

You can go into a refuge. Our helpline staff will help you – call us on 0300 303 3581. This doesn’t mean you have to move out of your home permanently. We can help you stay in your own home and remove the violent person, if possible. We can also help you get new accommodation locally or further away, depending on your needs.

Planning for your future safety

Think about your safety:

  • Do you have access to a phone?
  • Could a neighbour phone for you?
  • Could you ask someone to phone for you if they hear anything?
  • Do your children know how to phone 999?

If you are planning to leave home, or you have to leave in an emergency, consider gathering together the following:

  1. Important papers, including passports, birth certificates, injunction and/or legal documents
  2. Benefit books, bank/cheque books and bank statements
  3. Essential medication/child health records
  4. Spare keys to property, cars etc.
  5. Address book, phone numbers of friends, family, emergency services
  6. Money for taxis, buses and other essentials
  7. Bag of essential clothing, including underwear
  8. Toiletries
  9. Baby milk/food and other essential baby items
  10. Photos/child’s cuddly toy or other sentimental items

It may be possible to leave some of these essential items at a friend or relative’s house if you think this would be helpful.

Safe browsing

If an abuser knows how to read your browser or internet history, they may be able to see information you have recently viewed. You need to clear your browser history (internet activity) by doing the following:

 

Hide this site button

The orange button to the right of the SafeNet website will quickly exit the website, and land on the Google search bar homepage. Within your history it will not list the SafeNet website, it will say recently closed.

 

Private browsing

 

Internet Explorer

Click on open menu (top right), then click ‘new in private window’.

Firefox

Click on open menu (top right), the click ‘new private window’.

Chrome

Click on open menu (top right), then click ‘new incognito window’.

Safari (Apple products)

Open safari and click private.

 

Once you have completed one of the above you are able to enter sites without the browser holding search histories.

However, even if you delete your history, an expert may still be able to recover the details. The safest way to find information online would be at your local library, a friend’s house, an internet café, or at work, and remember to always log out.

Contact

If you are at risk of domestic abuse, and need a safe place to stay, we can help. Talk to us in confidence on 0300 303 3581.

Email: contact@safenet.org.uk – 8am to 11pm daily.

Agencies

SafeNet protects victims and survivors of domestic abuse through the provision of safe refuge and support services, promotes the prevention of further harm through various initiatives, including work to build safe and healthy relationships, and promotes equality.

We offer expert practitioner knowledge and deliver a range of specialist services, including:

  • Refuge – a safe and confidential place to stay for women and children, with specialist support services to help overcome violence and abuse (Burnley and Lancaster)
  • Safehouses as move-on properties, and for more complex needs, including families with teenage/young men and vulnerable male survivors
  • 1:1 support and ‘freedom programme’ groupwork
  • 1:1 support and groupwork in schools for children and young people
  • Community based support – helpline/outreach support and advocacy in the community
  • Support for those at risk of serious harm and homicide – from Burnley’s IDVA Service
  • Specialist support for ethnic minorities, including bi-lingual support, cultural and faith support, those with additional health needs, and male survivors
  • Group activities – ‘finding your voice’ writing and craft sessions, cultural celebrations, etc.

Accessing the refuge: When families escape to safe refuge, they have physically removed themselves and their children from the abuse, and then, together, we work with the residual emotional, psychological, practical and financial impacts and effects of abuse, providing crisis support until we are able to safely rehouse them with the help of partner agencies.

Accessing support in the community: For those we work with in the community, who continue to be at risk, we support them to be as safe as they are able. The survivors we work with inspire us daily with their courage and resilience as they work towards a better future.

SafeNet has been keeping women and children safe from domestic abuse since the early 1970s. Over the years, we have extended our services to all survivors and developed specialist support for survivors from ethnic minority communities, children and young people, those with complex health needs, male survivors, and LGBT survivors. We are proud to deliver fully inclusive and accessible services.

Refuge specialist support services

Health Support Services – Our specialist health support worker delivers direct health support to those with additional needs: mental health, such as depression or self-harming; dependency issues; disabilities, such as learning, sensory or physical difficulties; and reproductive/sexual health and pregnancy. They work closely with health agencies to co-ordinate an additional support package.

Ethnic Minority Services – Our specialist bi-lingual support worker delivers language, culture and faith support to victims/survivors from ethnic minority origins to help them overcome additional barriers. These barriers mean BME victims/survivors often require extra support to achieve social and economic independence. Additional specialisms are delivered to deal with forced marriage, honour based violence, female genital mutilation, and to help those with insecure immigration status or with no recourse to public funds.

Children’s Support Services – Our specialist children’s support workers create a positive environment, where children and young people feel safe and free from abuse. They offer one-to-one and group sessions, where children who may be traumatised can participate in therapeutic sessions to help them reconcile their abusive experiences and can also enjoy play sessions and have fun as children deserve. They support children to overcome their experience of abuse, and ensure any disruption to their education is minimal during their stay.

Refuge security

Resident safety is crucial. The locations of our accommodation are strictly confidential to help keep our residents safe. Our Burnley accommodation has been purpose built to offer exceptional security and is ‘safer by design’. Our Lancaster Refuge is also designed to the highest safety principals.

Open 365 days a year, both Refuges are staffed 24/7 to help those in crisis with emergency referrals, and maintain security. In addition, special security features include 24-hour digitally recorded CCTV, a night time security alarm system, security fencing, and a unique entrance with staff-operated security doors. Most importantly, all those involved with the services are made aware of the importance of maintaining confidentiality of our location.

To access safe refuge:

SafeNet Burnley Office for referrals: 01282 414130

SafeNet Burnley, PO Box 9, Burnley, Lancs

SafeNet Lancaster Office for referrals: 01524 581490

SafeNet Lancaster, PO Box 888, Lancaster Lancs

Safe refuge accommodation with support

We provide safe refuge accommodation to survivors of domestic violence and abuse. Our communal Refuge facilities in Burnley and Lancaster welcome individuals and families, and supports them to get their lives back into perspective and take back control of their lives. They gain support from experienced practitioners, as well as mutual support from other families in similar circumstances.

Refuge space is in high demand, and most referrals are from partner agencies, such as health agencies (Health Visitors, Midwives, GPs, Hospitals), housing, police helplines, etc., with a small number of self referrals. Families can stay at the refuge for up to six months, but an average stay is around three to four months.

Following admission, residents are allocated a support worker and, together, they agree a ‘support plan’ which addresses all key needs around emotional support, practical, lefal, re-housing, welfare, income and debt, children’s needs, risk assessment and safety planning.

In addition to structured one-to-one support, support workers off ad hoc emotional and practical support with support groups, advocacy, counselling and involvement in wider social, education and community initiatives.

We work in close partnership with our partner agencies to help deal with all issues identified, and to successfully re-settle the family safely in the community.

Support in the community

SafeNet Burnley Community Based Support – For clients who need support in the community, we deliver support through our domestic abuse helpline, through direct 1:1 support sessions, and via longer-term case working. We offer emotional and practical support, risk assessment, safety planning and help to access legal advice. We take our support directly into local communities by delivering weekly surgeries in various community settings, such as children’s and health centres. Some of those surgeries are staffed by bi-lingual support workers.

SafeNet Burnley IDVA Service – Our Independent Domestic Violance Advisors (IDVAs) assess risks and create safety plans for those at high risk of serious harm and homicide, and are key contributors to local Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARACs), where they advocate on behalf of clients. They also offer practical and emotional support for individuals going to court and who are part of criminal justice proceedings. Individuals benefit from increased confidence, and a better understanding of legal proceedings and how to reduce the risk of further violence.

SafeNet Burnley and Lancaster Early Support Service – Our Early Support Service supports children and young people identified as ‘at risk’, and will deliver specific domestic violence intervention programmes, such as the Recover Toolkit for Children; You, Me & Mum; Helping Hands; What About Me?; The Freedom Programme; etc. It aims to complete a minimum of 12 weeks of dirct support work to each child, and also support for any siblings and parents. You can refer any child and young person in a CAF/TAF process or who you consider to be eligibile if not already in the process.