The Dash Charity runs three refuges for women across Berkshire. Each refuge has different sized individual bedrooms with shared living facilities. We can accommodate up to 14 women with or without children at any one time. Refuges are safehouses which provide sanctuary and support to those who are escaping domestic abuse and have nowhere else to go.
At Dash you have your own bedroom to share with your children. Other spaces such as the living room, kitchen, bathroom etc. will be shared with other refuge residents. There is plenty of space for you to cook for yourself and your children. It is up to you and the other refuge residents whether or not you share cooking or eat together at mealtimes. You can be as self-contained or as sociable as you want to be.
"Refuge helped me in every possible way to get stronger and feel safe; I’ve met some lovely people, remembered who I am and I'm grateful for everything."
Refuge should be a last resort option for women and children; often those we support are fleeing their homes in crisis and often only have a small window of opportunity to escape. For this reason, most of the families we support will come from outside our local area, to enable them to remain as safe as they can be and where they can make a fresh start.
Routes To Support
If a local family needs to access refuge space in an emergency, we can still help. We will use our network of refuges (Routes to Support) across the UK to help source safe and suitable accommodation, ensuring families are enabled to leave, and travel safely to their destination. We cannot always guarantee that we can find you a space quickly or in an are of the UK of your choice, as it depends on the space available, but remember - your safety is the priority and we will do our best to find you the most appropriate space available.
Some refuges have space for many women and children, and some are small houses.Some refuges are specifically for women from particular ethnic or cultural backgrounds (for example, Black, Asian or South American women). Many refuges have disabled access and staff and volunteers who can assist women and children who have special needs.
“I will sincerely miss you all, thank you for getting me through the worst time of my life.”
Who can go into a Refuge?
Any woman who needs to escape from domestic violence or abuse can go into a refuge at any time. It does not matter whether or not you are married to or living with your abuser, or whether or not you have children. You will need to leave work to ensure you are safe and your children may have to move to a new school, but we can help with this.
What about my children?
We have rooms of all sizes for you and your children. We will be able to help you find a local school and we have lots of toys and activities for children of all ages. Our specialist Children's Team can help support your children, ensuring we minimise the impact of their experiences and give them their best life chances.
Will my abuser find me?
This is a safe house. The address is only given to people who need to know. We can arrange for you to be relocated to another area for your safety if it is compromised or it is advisable to do so. You won't be able to have visitors to the safehouse, but you can meet friends/family elsewhere if safe to do so.
What can I bring with me to Refuge?
We do not have any storage space, so you are unable to bring large amounts of belongings with you or items such as furniture. You cannot bring pets but we will do our best to support you to get your pet fostered temporarily until you are able to look after them again.
I don't want to leave my home, can you still help?
Yes, we can give you confidential support and relevant information wherever you are staying within our area. We offer a range of support services including one to one support for women, children, young people and men as well as group work for women and children of all ages.
Where can I live after Refuge?
You can return home from the refuge at any point. You may decide to return to your home once it has been made safer. You may decide you want to be re-housed elsewhere. The choice is yours, and Refuge IDVA's will give you information about the various options to help you decide what you want to do. They will also help you to get advice regarding joint property and mortgage agreements. Do not agree to sign any documents relating to the tenancy or ownership of your home until you have taken legal advice. You may be able to apply to your local council for help with housing once you are ready to move on from refuge.