Candidate information


hbn.pngMy own decision to apply to join the board of Refuge was driven by an absolute conviction that this was an organisation which did vital work with a societal problem which is close to my heart, and which I deeply wanted to be part of. It’s a privilege to hold the role of Chair, and I’ve no doubt that your interest in these roles indicates the same admiration and affection for this truly remarkable charity.

Every one of us who has come close – and it’s always closer than we would want – to the devastating consequences of domestic abuse and violence wants to do something to help, but it’s often hard to see how to make a difference. Yet from its very earliest days, Refuge has rolled up its collective sleeves and set to work to provide a range of practical, compassionate services which support survivors and their children. More, we have channelled our anger at the continued existence of domestic violence and abuse into conversation-changing campaigns, and we have assembled the research and evidence that convinces politicians to create legislation and policies which address this criminal behaviour. Wherever you look in this fight, you’ll find Refuge on the side of survivors.

After nearly five decades, Refuge’s track record is one of which we are all incredibly proud. But from those who achieve much, more is always expected. We know that during lockdown, domestic abuse and violence has been given a new opportunity to flourish behind closed doors; this stubbornly persistent problem has found new outlets in digital technologies, with image-based abuse and digital stalking now emerging as huge threats. And we have a much clearer understanding of how financial and emotional abuse is associated with the destructive scourge of coercive control.

We want to ensure that we continue to refine, innovate and listen; while we fear that we will always be needed to support survivors, our efforts to raise awareness of the problem, and reduce the incidence of domestic abuse and violence at source, will be an increasing part of our work in the future. My ambition for Refuge is that we continue to innovate and increase the impact we have and the number of survivors and their children we can help, and that we harness the impact of the Domestic Abuse Bill not into subdued silence, but into amplified and sustained voices of change until such time as we have eliminated domestic abuse. And I want us to be seen as an authentic collaborator in the sector – as a truly inclusive and empowering organisation to work in and alongside.


So there remains a great deal to do, and we would like to invite you be part of it. I’m very excited at the prospect of meeting an inspiring, challenging and passionate group of candidates over the coming months, and I would encourage you to have an early conversation with our advising consultants, Cadence Partners. Their contact details can be found elsewhere on the site.

I look forward to receiving your application.

Hetti Barkworth-Nanton
Chair of Trustees, Refuge