Men's refuge

Distressed manImage copyright

A man who escaped from his abusive wife and moved into a refuge said it got to the point where he was “too frightened to leave the house”.

The man, who does not wish to be named, spent six months in the Domestic Abuse Safety Unit in Shotton, Flintshire.

It is the only refuge for men fleeing domestic abuse in north Wales, and with just two beds, is having to turn men away.

The unit, funded by Flintshire council, says it needs more cash.

It can only accommodate two men at a time, but wants to be able to house fathers with their children.

With its current funding arrangement coming to an end in March, and with the council yet to set its budget, the centre is uncertain how much cash they will receive.

The man, who fled his eight-year abusive marriage and moved into the centre, said it gave him space to think about what he was going to do.

“It was controlling. I wasn’t allowed to go out on my own. I had to describe, if I did go out, where I’d been, who I’d seen,” he said.

“It came to the point where I was frightened to leave the house for more than an hour.

“It got worse…. I suppose, in hindsight, I should have seen it happening. But when you are in the thick of it, you don’t.”

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The domestic abuse centre can only house two men and has had to turn victims away

Out of desperation he rang Women’s Aid and found the refuge.

“It was a space that I really needed to get my own thoughts about what I was going to do,” he said.

“When you have been in that kind of relationship for so long you can’t even think and decide things for yourself and it takes a while to get used to that.”

Staff said demand for the unit had outstripped supply since the first men were helped there in June 2016.

“On the first day of opening we had five referrals for those two bed spaces,” said project manager Emma Glover.

“And following that we’ve accommodated 10 male victims and we’ve had 30 referrals that have been refused either because the refuge has been full or they just weren’t suitable for the project.”

Flintshire council has been asked to comment.

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