VICTIMS of domestic violence and abuse will be offered a place of refuge when a new centre opens in Bury.

The sanctuary will provide much-needed emergency accommodation for women and their children fleeing domestic abuse.

The refuge centre has been developed by partners Bolton charity Fortalice, affordable housing provider Irwell Valley Homes and Bury Council.

Fortalice will provide support for victims to help them feel safe and empower them to live independently.

Gill Smallwood, chief executive of Fortalice, said: “We have worked in the field of domestic abuse for more than 42 years in Bolton and welcome the opportunity to open a new refuge in Bury.

"We look forward to working with other agencies in Bury with the aim of strengthening the services for victims of domestic abuse.”

The scheme will see Irwell Valley Homes help victims to secure long-term, stable accommodation.

Andrew White, head of independent and community living for Irwell Valley Homes, said: "We have been working with Fortalice for more than 30 years providing vital support to families fleeing domestic abuse in Bolton.

"This latest refuge in Bury will build on our successful partnership, providing a safe and supportive sanctuary where women and their children will receive life-changing support to move on with their lives."

It is hoped that the refuge will encourage more victims in Bury to take the step to flee abusive relationships in the knowledge that there are safe places where they can go.

The aim of the refuge is primarily to provide support for victims, as well as helping them to rebuild their lives.

Cllr Sharon Briggs, Bury Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: “Refuge accommodation is so vital for victims of domestic abuse. It enables them to access the support they need in a secure environment and begin the process of recovery.

"We are delighted to be working with experienced partners in Irwell Valley Homes and Fortalice to really make a positive difference and a lasting impact."

If you are in an emergency situation, call 999. Alternatively call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247, or The Men’s Advice Line, for male domestic abuse survivors, on 0808 801 0327.