Katie and Joanne’s story

Katie (17) & Joanne (14)* are sisters who moved into a refuge with their mum six months ago and have just moved into a house. Katie says:
When we moved into a refuge with our mum we thought it would be scary, and we were nervous about sharing. But it wasn’t scary at all. We were really welcomed. There were other people at the refuge about the same age. We had arguments and stuff but that’s normal.
…I didn’t think we’d get to do activities!
There was loads to do at the refuge, like going on days out to places like Cadbury World, going bowling, and having a make-up day. I didn’t think we’d get to do activities! Sometimes it was tough, but it’s just part of life really. You grow up quickly being a teenager in a refuge.
…you could tell people anything and you could trust them
We found it easier to talk to the other people in the refuge compared to our school friends because we found we understood each other. You could tell people there anything and you could trust them, because they had been through the same thing. It’s harder with friends at school because they just ask ‘what’s wrong with you lately?’ but you can’t talk to them about it.
…we do miss the refuge
It’s great now we have a new house with our mum, and we’ve got our cat back at last! We do miss the refuge though, as we made some great friends there and it feels like they’re our family. Before we left I made a DVD of our time at the refuge with our friends and we went back to show it to everyone. We stuck by each other through thick and thin in the refuge and we met friends we will stay in touch with forever.
* Names have been changed