Our Community Hero in the Spotlight for March is BCHA’s Bournemouth Women’s Refuge to celebrate International Women’s Day and highlight all the great work they do for the women of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.  

International Women’s Day – #IWD22 – is a global event to
 commemorate the cultural, political, and socio-economic achievements of women. This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias to encourage a gender-equal world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.

A refuge is a safe house for victims of abuse, and their children, to escape to and access support to help them rebuild their lives and live a life free from abuse.  

Bournemouth Women’s Refuge offers self-contained and shared flats across Bournemouth and Poole, one of which is identified as a space specifically for a male. They can accommodate single clients with a maximum of five children. 

The refuge offers trained and experienced staff 24-hours a day on site during office hours to provide practical and emotional support to residents. 

BCHA are committed to working with those who have suffered from domestic abuse with respect, dignity and sensitivity, enabling victims to regain control of their lives. They recognise that everyone’s needs are unique, so they work with all individuals to create a personalised support plan that helps keep them safe and allows them to move on with their life. 

The support they offer includes: 

  • Emotional support in overcoming the effects of living with domestic abuse. 
  • Welfare benefits advice and help to manage your financial situation. 
  • Support if you are considering going to court and help to access legal advice. 
  • Support in accessing specialist support for your children. 
  • Signposting you to specialist agencies such as mental health and substance misuse services where relevant, and counselling services. 
  • Tenancy advice, including joint property and mortgage agreements, and long-term housing options. 
  • Accessing relevant support networks in the local community. 
  • School placements for your children. 

Refuges are available to: 

  • Any woman or man aged 16 and over, with or without children, who has been subjected to any form of domestic abuse, and is a resident in the UK 
  • An individual must be able to financially support themselves and their dependants, or be entitled to public funds such as welfare benefits, or be eligible for the Destitute Domestic Violence Concession (DDVC).  
  • The service is available to anyone who fulfils the criteria irrespective of race, ethnic or national origin, religion (or lack of belief), gender, sexuality, disability or any other characteristic 

More information about BCHA and their services can be found on their website 

You can listen here to Rio, Vicky and Emma talking to Blair about our Community Hero in the Spotlight initiative and the amazing work they are doing.