For nearly 50 years Stroud Women’s Refuge has been there to support women from all over the UK who have been forced to leave their homes due to domestic abuse.
We work alongside various trusted national agencies and charities that can help you to move forward with your life. We will support you by helping you to fill out forms, speak to them on the phone and set up appointments.
Originally established in 1977 as Stroud Beresford Group, the Stroud Women’s Refuge is one of a handful of independent refuges in the UK, and now the only refuge in Gloucestershire.
We were formed in response to the pioneering work of Erin Pizzey in the 1970s. She not only set up the first women’s refuge in Chiswick in 1971 but shone a light on domestic violence; a taboo subject at the time, and one of society’s hidden crimes which meant that women suffering abuse from their partners had nowhere to turn.
As a result of their public awareness campaign, Erin Pizzey and Anne Ashby, the founders of Chiswick Women’s Aid, drew back the curtains of the nation’s homes and forced society to look inside. When women turned up at the refuge, none were ever turned away.
The shocking reality of the scale of abuse in the UK prompted many people across the country to form voluntary groups that could tackle the issue within their own communities. Stroud Beresford was one of these early groups, reaching out to women and children who often had no way of escaping the daily violence and intimidation they were being subjected to.
In 1977, a small group of volunteers met for the first time in Stroud Subscription Rooms to look at what could be done locally. From those very early beginnings, Stroud Beresford Group was set up and the first women’s refuge established in the town with help from Stroud District Council, making it possible to offer safe accommodation and support to women and children and enabling them to re-build their lives.
Over four decades our service has grown considerably from one refuge run by volunteers to two refuges able to provide safe accommodation for nine families with a professional staff team that includes a specialist children’s support worker, a wide-ranging outreach service and a community programme of courses and workshops.
Although based in Stroud, we answer requests for support from anywhere in the country. If a family urgently needs to move away from home because of abuse, violence and life-threatening situations, we will always help.