Bringing Christmas joy to families in refuge

December 1st 2020

Each year more than 20,000 children across the UK flee domestic abuse to seek sanctuary in a refuge. Thanks to the domestic abuse support charity, KidsOut, those spending Christmas in our St Helens Refuge will all be receiving gifts this year, following a donation of 20 boxes of toys.

The Refuge, run by Torus St Helens, is part of St Helens Council’s Domestic Abuse Support Service, Safe2Speak offers victims fleeing domestic abuse safe accommodation and comprehensive support, from a fully trained domestic abuse team, that helps them rebuild their lives and start over.  The refuge and Safe2Speak, which offer a lifeline and provided a critical support for families, women, children and men has remained fully operational throughout the Coronavirus crisis.

KidsOut works with partners, like as Safe2Speak, to support children who may have had to leave their home with only the clothes on their back. Children who may have experienced physical, emotional, and even sexual abuse. Children whose childhood may have had little in the way of fun.

Safe2Speak Refuge Co-ordinator, Julie Scahill, who has worked with the KidsOut charity for several years, commented:

“Working with amazing partners, like KidsOut, is so vital to support these children and make their stay in Refuge less scary. The donation of over £1,000 worth of toys will make a massive difference to children who have already been through so much trauma in their short lives.”

KidsOut have also supported the 22 families, with 35 children who have come into Refuge this year by donating supermarket vouchers to assist clients to buy fresh veg and fruit, as well as providing children with ‘Buddy Bags’ for when the children come into refuge, made up of pyjamas, a picture frame, toothbrush & toothpaste, colouring books and crayons.

Torus Support Network, Operations Manager Supported Housing and Domestic Abuse, Charlotte Stenhouse, added:

“Staying at home isn’t always the safest option for families. 

 “Living in a home where domestic abuse happens can have a serious impact on a child or young person, but Refuge accommodation gives them a safe place to stay. That’s why it’s key that Refuge work with partners and local charities to ensure that children feel safe and that they have what they need. 

 “Some families flee and have to leave everything behind and we rely on donations to assist us to ensure that no child goes without. Christmas in a refuge can be a difficult time, so we want to make it as special as possible and these donations and gifts are much appreciated and can take the pressure off their parent.”

Torus believes that domestic abuse is not acceptable.  That people and children especially should be able to live without the fear of abuse.

Throughout the crisis, Torus has been keeping our customers across our three heartlands informed on where they can access help and support if they are a victim or suspect someone is a victim of domestic abuse.

If you live in St Helens and need the support of Safe2Speak call 01744 743200, email or text 07781472828 (cannot receive calls).  To find out more visit

You can find out more information about accessing support for domestic abuse on our dedicated website(s) for each heartland: