Wakefield domestic violence haven marks a decade of support

A Riverside worker provides support
A Riverside worker provides support

A refuge for women escaping domestic violence is marking its tenth anniversary.

Marie House in Wakefield opened its doors in July 2005 and has since housed and offered tailored support to nearly 400 women and more than 600 of their children. It was commissioned by Wakefield Council,

The anniversary coincided with new national statistics showing increasing reports of violence against women,

The Crown Prosecution Service released a 2014 to 2015 report with figures showing a record number of offences listed as ‘violence against women and girls’, These were up 18 per cent on the previous year. The report also showed the highest ever number of convictions for domestic abuse and sexual offences against women.

Housing association Riverside, which runs Marie House, is highlighting its own fight to tackle abuse as it marks the anniversary of its specialist centre providing housing and support for women escaping domestic abuse.

Along with offering safe accommodation, Riverside’s support team work with women to take back control of the lives, boost their confidence and realise their own potential.

Area manager Sharon Leighton said: “I am proud to have been part of the vital support service Marie House provides to women and children fleeing or at risk of abuse. I was involved with developing the specialist service from the very beginning and pleased it continues to deliver positive outcomes for women’s lives.

“The service was named after Sgt Marie Jones of West Yorkshire Police, who along with local safeguarding trainer Jane McGill, campaigned for funding and backed the development of safe and secure refuge accommodation in the district.”

The service offers eight self-contained apartments with a communal lounge and a playroom for children. Each client has their own appointed Riverside support worker to create a bespoke, structured support plan.

Riverside works alongside local authorities, police and social services, solicitors and health professionals to combat issues related to domestic abuse. It also works closely with the Church Housing Trust.