Better support for women as H&F unveils new partnership with Refuge

The new service offers support and safe accommodation to help women and children escape domestic abuse.

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Operator of the free National Domestic Abuse Helpline, the Refuge charity offers support and emergency accommodation to women experiencing domestic abuse. Source: iStock

Hammersmith & Fulham has teamed up with national charity Refuge to help survivors escape domestic abuse.

The new service offers discrete support and safe accommodation to women and children who need to flee their homes as a result of domestic violence.

Refuge joins H&F’s extensive network of specialist support services as latest figures show a rise in domestic abuse offences by eight per cent from the previous year.

The new partnership forms part of actions the council is taking to create a safer, kinder and stronger borough for all.

Cllr Emma Apthorp, Mayor of H&F Council, welcomed the new partnership with Refuge, saying:

“Ending violence against women and girls is one of our top priorities. We are dedicated to ensuring that survivors get the support they need, including anyone fleeing domestic abuse.”

Watch the video on YouTube of Mayor Apthorp introducing our new partnership with Refuge.

Tailored support

Refuge operates the free National Domestic Abuse Helpline.

The largest organisation of its kind in the country, the charity provides confidential, practical support for those experiencing domestic abuse.

“We are delighted to be working with Hammersmith & Fulham Council as they strive to tackle violence against women and girls more broadly in their borough,” said Abigail Ampofo, Director of Service Delivery at Refuge.

On any given day, Refuge help support thousands of single women and women with children who experience violence through a family member, partner, ex-partner or other person in their home life.

Whether to help them understand their rights and options or finding emergency accommodation away from their perpetrators, Refuge can offer tailored expert help for survivors.

“There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to providing support: we want to tailor our support to the individual,” said Mari Edwards, Head of Service.

“Everybody deserves to live a life that’s free from violence and abuse. We are there to listen and believe, and to provide that support for that person.”

Watch the full interview on YouTube of Mayor Apthorp talking to Mari about Refuge.

Zero tolerance for violence against women and girls

Refuge is one of many Violence Against Women and Girls services available in H&F.

Their offer complements the support already provided by the council-commissioned Angelou service – a partnership of 10 specialist organisations for survivors of domestic or sexual violence.

Since 2020, they’ve supported more than 1,500 women and girls in the borough – over 50 per cent of whom had children.

As part of the council’s commitment to end this type of abuse, H&F launched its new, pioneering Strategy for Ending Violence against Women and Girls earlier this year.

Developed with local residents, businesses and service providers for survivors, it maps out our approach to prevent gender-based violence, support survivors, hold abusers to account and create change through collaboration.

Read the H&F Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy 2022 to 2027 here.

Help is at hand

If you are experiencing abuse, you are not alone. Support is available.

In an emergency, always call 999.

You can reach the free National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 – available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you find it difficult to pick up the phone, contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline live chat, open Monday to Friday, 3pm to 10pm.

Or visit the National Domestic Abuse Helpline website to fill in a webform and request a safe time to be contacted.

If you would like to talk about your situation – or the situation of someone you know – you can also get help through the Angelou partnership, free and confidentially. Call 0208 741 7008, Monday through Friday, 10am to 6pm, and Thursday, 10am to 9pm, or email

For more information and further contacts, visit the H&F VAWG support page.

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