Refuge service

Who is the service for?

Women aged over 16 and their children who need to leave their homes because of domestic abuse.
If you need help immediately, click here.

What do we offer?

At the refuge, we provide a safe and welcoming space where women and their children are supported to move forward following the abuse they have experienced.

There are eight self-contained flats, and each one has a bedroom, bathroom, sitting room and a small kitchen/dining area. There are cots, beds or bunk beds for children.

There is also a shared lounge with a TV, chill out area, a family play room, a large activity kitchen and a safe outside space with flowerbeds and play equipment.

There is a counselling and one-to-one room, and there will soon be a small gym. There is a laundry room with all the equipment you need.

WHAG staff are on hand 24 hours a day to support you with both practical and emotional issues. Residents also provide mutual support to each other, and there are lots of group activities including cookery, arts and crafts and pampering sessions. We are able to offer counselling and play therapy.

Clients stay in the refuge for up to 14 weeks. During that time, support workers will work with you to look at what changes you want to make in your life, and draw up an action plan to help achieve these. This will include finding somewhere to live after you leave the refuge, and making sure you know what to do to help keep you and your children safe. We will help you apply for benefits and grants for things like white goods and furniture. We will help you make sure you have the knowledge and skills that you need to stay in your new home in the long term.

Once you have moved in to your new home, if it is in Cheshire West and Chester, we can carry on supporting you for up to 12 weeks.

If you move outside the area, we will offer you our Key Ring service (see below.)

Support can include things like:

  • Help with moving in
  • Arranging for security equipment such as window locks to be fitted (sometimes know as ‘target hardening’)
  • Applying for benefits such as Universal Credit
  • Getting gas, electricity and water supplies in your name and putting payment arrangements in place
  • Finding out about community services such as support groups, Citizens Advice, volunteering opportunities, libraries and health services
  • Recovery programmes such as counselling, befriending and training programmes.

After this, you will move on to our Key Ring service, which is a 3-monthly keep in touch telephone call to check how you’re getting on and make sure you know where to go to get any help or information you need.

How do I get this service?

You need to fill in a WHAG Referral Form and email it to
You can fill in the form yourself or you can ask someone else to do it for you.

This could be an organisation such as your Housing Office or Housing Solutions, Women’s Aid, and Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA,) the police or the National Domestic Violence Helpline.

National Domestic Violence Helpline (24 hours)

  • 0808 2000 247

CWAC Housing Options

  • 0300 123 2442

You do not need to live in Cheshire West and Chester.

When we get your form, we will contact you to arrange a telephone interview to see if the refuge can meet your needs. This might involve talking to other organisations that have been helping you.

If we can offer you a place in the refuge, we will tell you about any waiting periods, and contact you as soon as possible so you can move in.

If we cannot offer you a place, we will tell you why, and talk to you about what other options you might have.

This could include WHAG’s Dispersed Refuge service.

For more information

  • Cheshire West and Chester Refuge Service
  • Tel: 0151 356 4686 (8.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m.)
Get in touch

Get in touch