Frequently Asked Questions
I don’t have my children with me. Can I still stay at Louisa?
How long can I stay at Louisa?
- Louisa has both short term (refuge) and transitional accommodation. You can stay at the refuge up to about three months whilst working together with staff on your future plans. The transitional accommodation is 12-18 months. The refuge is a shared facility and is for women, and women with children. The transitional accommodation is open to all people escaping domestic and family violence, however there is a very limited supply.
Can I bring my pets?
- We know how important your pets are; in fact many people do not leave a dangerous situation because they are worried about their pets’ safety. We do not have capacity for pets in the refuge because it is a shared living place, however we will try and help you make arrangements for your pets. Pre-loved pets may be approved for the transitional accommodation.
What happens if after 3 months I still haven’t found housing I can afford?
- Finding exit housing is just one of the things that workers will help you to do during your stay. Generally most people can find somewhere, but if it is taking longer and there are unusual circumstances, we will consider this.
What should I bring to Louisa?
- Yourself and your children! After that most important is your mobile phone, personal paperwork, such as passport, bank cards, ID, court documents etc and, precious photographs. If you can bring suitable clothes for yourself and the kids, as well as any special items that will make the kids feel at home. Don’t forget their school bags and uniforms.
I left my home with nothing, just me and the kids. Can you help me to get our stuff?
- Your safety is most the most important thing. We will help you figure out options for getting your stuff. This might involve going to court and getting an Order, which means that you can then collect your belongings in the presence of police.
I have difficulty with mobility; can I still be accommodated?
- Yes! Our short term accommodation facility is fully disabled accessible.
What sort of people come to Louisa?
- People just like you. People that have had a difficult time because they have been living with abuse, have been stressed and anxious for a long time. It’s amazing what a period of real security and support can do to help lift some of that stress. If you come to the refuge, where you will share with others, rest assured that we also have practical rules and systems in place to make things work smoothly. Many women find new friends during their stay.
Will I have to share a room with other people?
- Definitely not! If you are in our transitional accommodation, you and your family will be the sole occupants. If you are in the refuge you will have your own private and secure bedroom. You might be surprised to know that the refuge was purpose-built for us, and is a very large house with several bathrooms, large living areas and play areas for the children. The most common comment from those coming to it for the first time is “Oh, it’s so much nicer here than I thought it would be”
How is it for children at Louisa because I’m worried about bringing my children?
- Children love the safety and company at Louisa, and receive lots of support just for them. Children are deeply affected by exposure to abuse, and they also worry about their parents. Sometimes they have developed behaviours that concern their parents, such as hitting and swearing. Being in a safe place where their needs are met is like pouring water on a garden and watching it flower.
Is there anywhere I can store my furniture because I don’t want to leave it in the house?
- We do not have the capacity to store furniture, but will try and help you work out other options.
Can I have my family and friends to visit?
- Louisa has rules to protect everyone’s safety. At the refuge it is generally best if you organise to have visitors elsewhere, although you can have personal visitors if they are female and you organise this with a worker beforehand. In the transitional accommodation you may have visitors but we advise that people consider carefully who comes to visit, as it may impact their safety.
If I am at the refuge and want to go away for the weekend, do you keep my room for me?
- Yes, provided you check in with us first. This is for two reasons; firstly so that we know you are safe, and secondly because there is a high demand for emergency accommodation and if you have a place to stay, then we could give the room to someone else in need.
My kids go to school in Canberra. Can you help me to get them to school every day?
- No, but we can help you organise a school bus, and there are also excellent primary schools in Queanbeyan very close by which they can attend temporarily, as it is very important that the children continue to attend school.
Do I have to pay board or rent to stay at Louisa?
- Yes. You will be expected to pay board at the refuge, which is on a sliding scale. During your stay you will probably find that you may be able to put some money together for your future needs. Please do not worry if you don’t have any money right now, because workers will help you to access an income, and you will not have to pay inadvance. If you are in transitional accommodation you will pay rent based on a percentage of your income.
What happens if my partner rings Louisa and asks for me?
- Workers are very careful of your privacy and will not tell your partner any information about you.
I’m really scared my ex-partner will try to find me. What sort of security is there at Louisa?
- We have excellent security at the refuge – a monitored security system, personal duress alarms and suitable locks and screens. We also have systems in place to make sure security is adhered to.
I want to stay in my home; can I still get help and advice?
- Yes, of course! We want you to stay in your own home if you are safe to do so, and We will tailor our support to suit your needs. This may be with outreach visits or over the phone. We can help you work out a safety plan, assist you with making referrals and appointments for legal issues, counselling and income support. In fact, all of the things that we provide to anyone.