What To Expect At Humraaz
Humraaz Refuge supports Black and Minority women and their children fleeing domestic abuse, forced marriage and / or Honour Based Violence.
Humraaz offers safe temporary accommodation, advice and support. Any woman who is fleeing domestic abuse can be referred through an agency that is supporting her. A pre-admission risk assessment is conducted to ensure our service is the right ones for the woman in question- this is imperative. Although we do not offer specific support for particular issues, such as drugs, alcohol and mental health, we work closely with specialist services to ensure such support needs are met.
When women come to Humraaz there are a number of issues they are faced with, for example:
Safety – When a woman come from abusive situations, it leaves them vulnerable and in fear of their lives. Leaving the abusive situation is a huge step knowing that they may be cut off from the extended family and / or the community. It can take a woman a long time to finally come to the decision to leave or sometimes be forced to leave. Before leaving, a woman may worry about where she will go and may be unaware of the services available. This can leave women feeling they have no choice but to stay within the abusive situation.
Financial Worry – When leaving home, women worry about having enough money for food to feed herself and her children. Not every woman will know her entitlement to benefits. In many relationships the man will take control over the finances and the woman will not even know what the money is, where it is coming from or how much money there is. Over the years many women have been surprised to learn that they can claim welfare benefits in their own right.
Housing – There is a huge amount of disruption when a woman leaves her home, settles into a refuge and then has to leave again. This unsettling chain of events comes attached with many feelings and fears. Where will I get re-housed? But I don’t know anyone in that area? These are common questions we hear on a regular basis. For a woman with children, this often means uprooting the children, changing schools, making new friends, and this doesn’t give stability.
The transition period needs a comprehensive support package which caters for all the various issues and needs. Our outreach worker supports women with the move into independent living and ensures the women feel supported and that practical and emotional issues are dealt with.
Children – Children come to us with various emotions, often feeling guilty, angry, withdrawn and upset. The list goes on according to the impact children are faced with. The right support, using a child-centred approach is imperative to ensure they are able to manage and deal with their experiences and emotions in a manner which reduces further detrimental effects on their personal wellbeing. Coming into a refuge can be exciting – a new place, new people – however, making new friends while having to keep the refuge address confidential, can be extremely difficult.
Child contact – Child contact is an important issue. It is not the case that every abusive man isn’t a good father. Children who have had a good relationship will still want to see their fathers. However, for safety, we support women in securing this contact through the right channels to avoid situations of being attacked, or children being abducted. In some situations the perpetrator may even file for contact just to find out where the woman is staying. This needs to be managed through the support of a solicitor.
No recourse to public funds – Women with no recourse to public funds come to Humraaz in a state of not knowing. They do not have a right to welfare benefits or housing, and unless they have some financial support secured through ourselves or other support services, they often have to remain in the abusive situation as there is no alternative.
Honour based violence – “He will find me and kill me,”” I have shamed the family”– These are common statements many women repeat again and again in a state of fear. We are aware that women from particular communities are made to feel that they are responsible for upholding the family honour. Should that be the honour of the family name, the honour of her husband, brother, family, son or community – the consequences of an act against the expected code results in women facing extreme violence which in many unfortunate situations leads to death.