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Today we have the following Refuge vacancies:


ReFocus was a two year partnership between West Mercia Women’s Aid (WMWA) and The Rural Media Company.

The films created through the project explore the impact that domestic abuse has had on young people, particularly those living in rural areas, and have been made with young people who have lived through domestic abuse but are now living in safety.

For many of the participants the ReFocus project was the first time they had met other young people affected by domestic abuse, and also the first time they had discussed the issue of abuse publicly.

The project worked with young people in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, aged 11-16 for a six to eight month period in a mixture of weekly, fortnightly, and weekend workshops. The workshops included drama, film, animation, visual arts, creative writing and photography and had many positive benefits. Year One produced the film The Things We Took With Us and Year Two, three films, Question, Trust, and Space plus accompanying documentaries.

The young people not only became proficient in using the equipment and working together creatively, but also gained an enormous amount of self confidence in expressing their own thoughts and ideas. As the project progressed they learnt that other young people shared similar experiences, and so began to think creatively about what they wanted the films to say.
Over the two years of the project we explored many different stories and experiences, all of which played a significant part in shaping the final material.

The intention behind the films was to not only share young people’s experience of domestic abuse but to help identify possible gaps in service provision or support for young victims. The films have already had a significant impact on Local Safeguarding Children Boards and at national conferences.  

One of the young people involved said, “I’m very proud of what we have done. It’s easier once you have spoken about it, because you know other people have had similar experiences. It shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel”

"Young people are often referred to as the “hidden victims” in abusive households, so it is fantastic that they have been given a voice by this creative and inspirational project",  Jan Frances, former CEO, West Mercia Women’s Aid explains, "I’m sure the powerful messages will stay with viewers for a very long time.”   


WMWA C&YP REFOCUS PROJECT VIDEOS - Click the image to view


Through a combination of drama and discussion the young people examined how they might navigate Trustthe adult world and discussed what type of relationships they would like to be in when they got older.

Trust was made in response to conversations regarding teenage relationships and how young people make decisions about boyfriends and girlfriends based on their experiences of growing up.

The film is played in reverse and as the make-up is removed the young girl who desperately wanted to be a woman is revealed.

"It's like suddenly you grow a bit and you're supposed to know about boyfriends and what the rules are"


Space is a short film exploring the experience of two brothers who are living in a refuge following their family's flight from a perpetrator. The boys are living in cramped conditions with their mum and two sisters. They are frustrated and exasperated by the rules that control their Spacecurrent living environment.

The film was based entirely on the brother's experiences of living in a refuge. We wanted to make a film that was honest and reveal what the experience was like for the boys. They were relieved that they and their mum were safe but were also unhappy and worried by their experience of living there.

Although the boy's experiences were mixed, refuges are a crucial part of the support for women and young people and an essential gateway into other services. But there is a gap in provision to address the specific needs of teenagers, particularly boys.

"There's rules there's always rules"


Question is an examination of what it is to be a man. The boys in the group had both negative and positive experiences of male role models in their lives Questionand many of the boys were understandably protective of their mums and their female siblings.

Some of the men that had shaped their childhoods, fathers, stepfathers and partners of their mums, were defined by the fear they created. There was an incredible feeling that they would all reject violence, however it became apparent the boys all had questions about the type of man they would grow up to be.

The film was a chance for the boys to examine masculine roles and images through a comic book style. It was also important to create a film where the boys could be celebrated as the lovely, funny, bright young people that they are.

"How exactly can I be a man when you never showed me how"


The Things1Things We Took With Us is a short drama where three siblings return to their rural home where domestic abuse took place.

We see younger versions of the siblings and the ways in which they coped and tried to escape from the violence that dominated their young lives.

This is a powerful film that will provoke strong emotions in those who watch it and it illustrates beautifully the effects of domestic abuse on children.

"It's like loving someone and hating them at the same minute" 


"The group got on really well together, we all made friends. I think it helped us, because we all now know that there's stuff there to help us, we don't have to be alone" - Abbi

"More young people should definitely see the film as it provides an important message that you can get over witnessing abuse" - Ryan

If you would like copies of the Refocus DVD's, please contact:

24hr Domestic Abuse Helpline Numbers:

Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin: 0800 783 1359 Worcestershire: 0800 980 3331

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

699360892 Comic Relief