Ipswich: New refuge for victims of domestic violence opens

A COMMUNITY women’s centre is today open to help the victims of domestic violence seek refuge.

Lighthouse Women’s Aid celebrated the opening of the new centre in Ipswich yesterday.

The project was funded by The Big Lottery Fund, Ipswich Borough Council and The Tudor Trust.

Sally Winston, chief executive of the charity, which has worked to help women and children in Ipswich since 1976, said the new centre will give the team the chance to expand services in a bid to help more victims.

“Because of the nature of the work that we do, supporting women and children who have suffered the effects of domestic abuse, and providing them with safe and supportive refuge; we have to do a lot of our work behind closed doors,” she said.

“The Community Women’s Centre will give us a chance to expand our outreach services and help more women and children rebuild their lives and develop new skills and greater confidence.”

The women’s centre will provide a one-stop shop for advice and information and children who are suffering or have suffered domestic abuse.

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The centre will provide women the opportunity to develop new skills and come together in a safe and caring environment.

All women and children will be able to access the centre and will be encouraged to promote their independence and raise their confidence.

Among the services on offer include educational classes, self-esteem classes, domestic violence support groups, counselling and therapies, support in finding employment and internet access.

Ipswich Mayor Mary Blake and patron of the charity Mark Murphy opened the centre in Berners Street.

Last year 96 women and 150 children stayed in one of the charity’s refuges.

The Star, in partnership with Town 102 helped raise �15,000 to help build a log cabin at one of the refuges to help older children affected by domestic violence.

n Have you been helped by the charity? Tell us your story. Write to Lizzie Parry at Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail lizzie.parry@archant.co.uk