Seeking Safe Havens for Survivors of Domestic Abuse in North Yorkshire

by Editorial Team

A Yorkshire-based domestic abuse charity is looking for people with a spare room and time to dedicate to providing hosted, emergency accommodation to guests who have been subject to domestic abuse.

Leaving an abusive relationship can be one of the most dangerous times, yet all-too-often people are unable to access suitable, short-term, emergency accommodation, or do not have the breathing space to plan for their future.

Safe Havens is an innovative project that helps victims and survivors of domestic abuse to access safe accommodation. The accommodation is provided by trained, volunteer “hosts”, who in turn receive support from an IDAS domestic abuse worker.

Being a Safe Havens host is an opportunity to guide and assist a person through challenging times. Hosts can assist the guest in many ways, to reach their potential and future goals. Being with a trained host, in a host’s own home, offers guidance and support while the guest plans for a safer future—free from abuse and violence.

Pauline (not her real name), a survivor of domestic abuse, said of the scheme: “If I had known what help was out there when I was trying to leave, things would have turned out very differently for me. I was young and very scared of my then husband. My family not only did not recognise the abuse but wanted me to stay with my husband. It was only when he went on to remarry his second wife, who left him for the same reasons, that people began to realise what he was.”

 “I wish I could have taken my daughter and run, even just for a few days to get my head straight; but I had nowhere safe to go and he’d threaten me with awful things if I tried. I know now that IDAS would have helped, and I could have avoided eight years of pain. Being offered a safe place, for a short time, might have made all the difference to me, and I’m sure it will make all the difference to people who are trapped with abusers now.”

Anna Dinsdale, Local Area Manager IDAS, commented: “Escaping an abusive partner or family member is rarely straight forward; it takes tremendous bravery and courage. The IDAS Safe Havens hosted, emergency accommodation project aims to provide people with the option of short-term respite and relief in addition to our refuge accommodation. Safe Havens hosts will play a key role in assisting their guests by making them feel safe and welcome in their home, giving them time to consider their next steps.”

The project is initially taking place in North Yorkshire and the charity are running a series of information sessions for members of the public who are interested in becoming hosts to find out more.

Hosts will be police-checked and receive training and full support from domestic abuse practitioners and the project coordinator.

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