Specialist Refuge

Aim of the project

This innovative project provides pan-London, specialist emergency accommodation and support services for vulnerable women presenting with additional needs such as mental health, problematic substance use, sexual exploitation, trafficking and No Recourse to Public Funds.

The Network partnership consists of Ashiana Network, Solace Women’s Aid, nia project and IKWRO; a partnership that has substantial experience and expertise in delivering specialist Domestic and Sexual Violence services.

The Network offers dedicated, safe, temporary accommodation across refuge and second stage housing and works intensively with women to improve safety and enable them to exit violent and abusive relationships/situations.

The key elements of service include:

38 specialist 24-hour refuge and second-stage accommodation bedspaces and package of intensive targeted support to enhance safety and remove barriers:

  • 6 (24-hour) bedspaces: Problematic substance use (nia)
  • 5 (24-hour) bedspaces: Sexually exploited women (nia)
  • 8 (24-hour) bedspaces: Women with mental health/problematic substance use (Solace)
  • 7 second-stage bed spaces: Trafficked women (Solace)
  • 6 bed spaces: Middle Eastern and North African women fleeing harmful practices including forced marriage (IKWRO)
  • 6 bed spaces: South Asian, Turkish and Iranian women with NRPF experiencing DV/SV and harmful practices (Ashiana)
  • Programme of group-work/workshops to enhance health/wellbeing/living-skills/resilience
  • Resettlement programme to support independence/longer lasting outcomes
  • Outreach service supporting/enabling women to access alternative refuge accommodation/be supported in independent living
  • Training/awareness raising workshops for professionals to remove barriers/widen access
  • Housing advocacy securing/maintaining referral pathways with housing providers to secure alternative accommodation for women at risk and unable to access refuge

We aim to work intensively with women to support them to:

• Access specialist refuges
• Access treatment for substance use, harm reduction, sustained recovery
• Make safer choices and successfully exit prostitution
• Assess and resolve immigration status
• Access move-on/resettlement


Ashiana Network (lead partner)

Nia Project

Solace Women’s Aid



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