Please note that due to Covid-19, interviews for advice and support are preferably only offered by telephone. However arrangements have been made for the women who would rather come to us for an interview.
The Shelter is open 24 hours a day to the women and children who need to come to us for a stay. Here are some common questions and answers regarding the Women’s Shelters:
If I suspect domestic violence, should I call 112 and express my concerns?
What is the Women’s Shelter?
It is an emergency shelter/safe house for women who cannot live at home due to violence. Women can bring their children with them to stay with us. Violence can take many forms, and the perpetrator is usually a close relative, such as a spouse, parent, sibling, or a child.
The Women’s Shelter is also a place where you can book an interview without coming to stay. You can call and get advice and support regarding violence at any time.
What service is available at the Women’s Shelter?
Whether you live in the Shelter or come in for an interview, you can get support and advice as well as information on where you can turn next. Some women want information, for example regarding the nature of the violence, the divorce process or how they can take the next step, while others need more support to deal with the consequences of the violence. While women live in the Shelter, they are assisted on taking the next steps, whoever they may be. The Shelter is open 24 hours a day, all year round. The women who work there have diverse education and extensive experience working with survivors of violence. They can provide a variety of information and emotional support.
Is it just for women who are fleeing violence?
Yes, the Women’s Shelter is for women who are escaping violence.
We have realized it is important to note that the Shelter is for all women; homosexual women and trans women, women with children and also for women who do not have children, Icelandic women and foreign women and women who have or have not been physically abused.
The shelter is also for disabled women but unfortunately we do not have wheelchair access. However arrangements have already been made with a hotel in Reykjavik regarding providing a safe place for women with reduced mobility.
It is best to note that women are not allowed to use alcohol or drugs while staying in the Shelter.
Can women live in the Women’s Shelter and take their children with them?
Yes, of course, they can come with you to the Women’s Shelter. It is important that children do not have to live with violence because it can have negative long lasting effect on the well-being, behavior and general life of the children. It is very important that you come to the Shelter if you experience violence in the home and have children.
On average, more than 20 people live in the Shelter each day, women and children.
What if I have special wishes or needs, for example due to disability, illness or something else?
We do our best to assess all the different needs that women may have and hence try to meet the needs of the all women who ask for our assistance.
How long can you live there?
It depends on each individual situation. The Shelter is an emergency shelter and is intended to be lived in temporarily until the danger has passed or until the next steps can be taken. This is assessed each time.
Is something being done to ensure the safety of the Shelter’s residents?
Yes, great emphasis is placed on ensuring the safety of the residents of the house and we are in good co-operation with the police in connection with security matters.
Is it possible to go to work and can the children go to school while staying in the Shelter?
Yes, the residents of the Shelter are expected to live their daily lives as far as they are able to. Most of the women in the Shelter continue to go to work and the children also go to their pre-school and primary school.
Can I go out and meet my friends and family?
Yes of course. You will just have to let the staff know, remember the house rules which for example suggest you are back home by midnight.
Do I need to bring something with me?
No, but it’s good if you’re in a position to bring IDs, medicine, children’s school supplies, and so on. Also clothes and hygiene products if possible. In the Shelter you get a room, made beds, food and all necessities. Sometimes women get help from the police to go home and get their most basic necessities.
Where is the Women’s Shelter?
There are two shelters in Iceland; one is in the capital area and one in Akureyri. Women from all over the country can call us for advice and come and stay with us, regardless of where they live. The addresses are not made public. The police know where the shelters are located and if you call us in need to come to us for an interview or stay, we will provide you with our address.
How do I get to you then?
You can call us at 561 1205 (Reykjavik) 561 1206 (Akureyri) or call 1-1-2 and get the police’s help to get to us. Or ask a social worker, ask someone at your workplace to contact us, perhaps a neighbor, or at your child’s nursery or school – to name a few.
Do I need a referral?
No, there is no need for a referral to come to us. It is possible to come directly to the Shelter without calling in advance, even in the middle of the night.
Is it open 24 hours a day?
Yes, there is always a consultant on duty, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
What if there is no space in the Shelter?
The Women’s Shelter is an emergency shelter and it is never so crowded that it is not possible to add a woman and children who need to stay.
Does it cost to stay or get an interview?
No it costs nothing.
What if I do not speak Icelandic?
All the Shelter’s consultants speak Icelandic and English and some speak even more languages (Spanish, French, Swedish, Norwegian and Danish). Sometimes we need help with interpretation and then we use various online translation programs, telephone interpretation or get an interpreter to come to the Shelter.
If I come for an interview or stay, does it affect my right to be in Iceland, such as a residence permit or citizenship?
Can I come even if I am not physically abused?
Yes, of course. Not all women who have experienced physical violence or trauma have come to the Shelter.
Is what happened to me serious enough to go to the Women’s Shelter?
Yes. Because all speculations have their rights to be reflected on and it is our experience that women who wonder if they “have any business” in the Shelter, normally do have a business to contact us.
But if I come to you or call you for advice, do I have to leave my husband or divorce him?
No, you decide what you do. The counselors at the Women’s Shelter will give you information to help you assess your situation and decide what you want to do, but you must make the decision yourself. All interviews are 100% confidentiality.
Will I be reported to the child protection agency?
The Child Protection Act states that people who work with children and who have reason to believe that a child is living in unacceptable circumstances are obliged to report to the child protection. We define a home where there is violence as an unacceptable situation for a child, so the principle is that we report when children come to stay at the Shelter and if they return to the home of violence.
Will the children be taken from me then?
No, child protection does not take children away from the mother just because she has been abused. On the contrary, child protection can help mothers in this situation, the role of child protection is to protect children.
By bringing the children to the Women’s Shelter you are preventing the children from being abused.