Safe houses set up in secret Tees Valley locations for domestic abuse victims

VULNERABLE women will be given a new lease of life with the launch of a housing service for those fleeing abuse.

The Navigator Scheme, recently launched in six local authorities across the North-East, will provide accommodation to women who cannot live in traditional refuges.

There are a many reasons why some escaping domestic abuse and violence may not thrive in a communal refuge, according to charity My Sister’s Place.

Some women may not be comfortable living in such an environment for cultural reasons, while others may have struggled to find stable accommodation due to mental health issues, criminal records or issues with substance misuse.

The charity is hoping the acquisition of new properties will help those who are unable to live in traditional refuges the opportunity to get back on their feet again.

Based in Middlesbrough, My Sister’s Place were recently given the keys to one property in the town and are in the process of acquiring another, with the view of expanding the service if needed.

As part of the project, other organisations in Redcar, Hartlepool, Stockton, Darlington and Durham are working with local authorities to help women.

Middlesbrough’s Halo Project, which helps victims of honour based violence and forced marriages, are working to manage housing specifically for women from black, minority and ethnic backgrounds.

Becky Rogerson, from My Sister’s Place, said it was vitally important for local authorities to work together when helping survivors of abuse, especially those who may need to move from a particular town.

She added: “We have a network of navigators that can work together across the authority areas to support women with complex needs who find it difficult to access services.

“There are women who need to be in a refuge but because of their needs, they’re not suitable – whether that’s because of mental health issues, alcohol use or their history.

“We know there are real problems with women who face particular barriers getting safe accommodation.”

She hopes the provision of stable housing for those struggling will help them to move forward.

My Sister’s Place is currently appealing for donations of household goods for the accommodation.

Ms Rogerson said: “We estimate around 300 people will go through this service in the next 12 months.

“We want them to move into the accommodation knowing what they need is there, whether it’s a kettle to make a cup of tea, a hoover or a dustpan to sweep up something they’ve spilled.”

  • Anyone who can donate items should call 01642-241864.