A centre providing refuge accommodation for victims and families affected by domestic abuse has opened in Watford.

The opening of the facility was marked with a ribbon cutting ceremony by Colette Wyatt-Lowe, the executive member for Adult Care and Health at Hertfordshire County Council on November 29.

During the event, guests heard stories from people who had experienced abuse, as well as staff members who support them through their journey.

In October, following a review of their refuge accommodation service, the county council announced that they had partnered with independent charity Safer Places.

Janet Dalrymple, CEO of Safer Places said the centre has 60 units of refuge accomodation, along with a community based service to help victims move on.

Four of those spaces will be allocated to specifically support single males and men with children who need help.

She said: “We are particularly keen to ensure that people who may find it difficult to come forward and use our services, such as male victims of domestic abuse and people from minority communities are reached.

"We have accommodation available for men along with many wider specialist resources available to support more vulnerable residents who need our help.

“This new facility in Watford marks a new chapter for our partnership with Hertfordshire County Council and we’re looking forward to helping residents at risk.”

Colette Wyatt-Lowe added: “I’m delighted to have been asked to officially open this new accommodation and I hope that this marks a new beginning for some of the people who seek refuge and support here.

“Hertfordshire County Council and its partners are committed to providing a safe refuge for victims and their children who are fleeing from, or are at risk of domestic abuse and violence.

"We’re delighted to be working alongside Safer Places as our new provider of refuge services and accommodation for victims of domestic abuse in Hertfordshire. They bring along a vast amount of experience and will offer a fresh community focused approach to the challenges faced by victims and staff working with victims as well as a wide range of support services.”

Visit www.saferplaces.co.uk for more information about the services Safer Places offer to men, women and children affected by domestic and sexual abuse living in Hertfordshire.