Focus: Communications - Site Visit - www.refuge.org.uk

Refuge has produced a strong website that highlights the issue of domestic violence - a major social issue that results in the death of two women a week in England and Wales. The charity says the site is designed specifically for women and children, mainly by providing an information point for children and case studies of women affected by violence. The site has been funded by a suc-cessful, year-long £120,000 mobile phone recycling campaign run in partnership with The Body Shop.

Main pages

In February, refuge.co.uk won an award for "best not-for-profit internet site" in the Big Chip regional internet best practice awards. It's hard to disagree with the judges' comments that the charity's online presence has enviable consistency of communication throughout. Site designer Code Computer Love of Manchester deserves recognition for its work in this area. The main page makes good use of icons, but the most effective feature is the "three most frequently asked questions" section, which links to useful information and guidance.

Special features

Safety and security are big priorities for users, so there is a "hide the site" button that immediately removes all Refuge branding. There's also support for seven other languages, including Turkish and Vietnamese.

Refuge says

"For women experiencing domestic violence, picking up the phone and asking for help can be a daunting task. The access that the website gives to women, children, friends and families means there's so much information available now at the touch of a button. Logging on could be the first step to saving a life."

Site visit is by technology writer Gary Flood

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