Safe in Sussex

Louise Gilbey from Safe in Sussex at the Sussex Charities Fair

One of the projects we funded through the national Tampon Tax Fund in the autumn was Safe in Sussex in Worthing that provides refuge accommodation and other support services to women, children and young people experiencing or fleeing domestic abuse.

Amber House is their community refuge and Philanthropy Manager Toni Darton went to visit.

“Soon after I joined the Foundation, I was lucky enough to visit Amber House with the High Sheriff of West Sussex, Caroline Nicholls, and one of our supporters. We were all both impressed and inspired to learn more about the range of support they offer people of all ages and genders, helping people to identify and avoid abusive behaviour and to escape harmful relationships, and providing both emotional and practical support.

In particular, I was keen to learn more about their work with children (aged 5-13 years) whose parents are accessing Amber House’s services.

Through group and one-to-one sessions, they help these young people to process what is happening (or has happened) within the family, to build their confidence and self-esteem and enable them to talk about their experiences, all whilst providing healthy relationship education. Hearing about this reminded me of a moving article I had read by a journalist who witnessed domestic violence from the age of seven, in which they had written that:

“Nobody seemed to be too bothered about what went on behind my father’s closed door and we thought it was just a normal part of life.”

This project is supporting children and young people to understand what is and isn’t ‘normal’ behaviour.  Amber House is a drop-in centre at the heart of the community and open to everyone, helping to remove the stigma and silence that still surrounds domestic abuse.”