When a domestic abuse survivor comes to live in a refuge it can be distressing and frightening. But imagine if you are also blind or vision-impaired. The challenges are even greater.

Here at CHADD we have been working with Beacon Vision in Wolverhampton on a six-month project to help overcome some of those challenges.

The outcome is a brand new ‘Toolkit’ designed to give charities and agencies all the knowledge they need to ensure refuge spaces are as accessible as possible.

Easier Access in Refuges

The aim is to enable a smoother journey for blind and partially-sighted people accessing refuge accommodation.

Dani Walker, CHADD’s Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA For All), worked with Beacon Vision, (formerly Beacon Centre for the Blind), to create the Toolkit for Domestic Abuse Practitioners.

Funded by the Vision Foundation, the innovative Toolkit is now being rolled out nationally to domestic abuse refuges across the country.

Dani and Becky Green from Beacon Vision presented the Toolkit at the Visionary Annual Conference 2023 in Birmingham earlier this year.

Dani says it got a very positive reaction at the conference and also led to some difficult conversations around why this support is not already happening.

“Vision-impaired people are a particular group of survivors who have not had the level of support that they are entitled to. There is a lot of stigma around vision impairment and there’s not been enough funding or research. There is definitely a gap in services.”

A toolkit for refuges everywhere

a qr code for downloading the kitThe Toolkit has been produced with blind and partially-sighted people who have experienced challenges in accessing domestic abuse support.


Dani says as part of building the Toolkit she asked a vision-impaired person to walk around their refuge to help them identify potential barriers.

She says the simple experiment highlighted how making walls and furniture colour-contrasting could make a real difference in helping someone navigate a refuge safely and with more confidence.

1  in 12 a victim of domestic abuse 

Beacon Vision estimates at least one in 12 visually-impaired people in the UK is a victim or survivor of domestic abuse. That’s around 188,000 people.

Dani says the reason she became a domestic violence advisor was to enable people to make their own decisions and to get the outcome they wanted.

“It’s about making a difference. I hope the Toolkit is going to make a difference, even if it’s simply a starting point. And as time goes on I hope this is something we can expand on.” The Toolkit is available in a number of formats to make it as accessible as possible…