THE first refuge for male victims of domestic abuse has officially opened its doors in Essex in memory of a young man who tragically took his own life.

Alex House, in Harlow, provides specialist support to survivors and is named in memory of Alex O’Donoghue, a victim of abuse who died in 2022.

The opening on Friday was attended by various dignitaries including Robert Halfon MP, district commander Paul Austin, and Jayne Gentry, director of operations at Safer Places.

Epping Forest Guardian: The Alex House entranceThe Alex House entrance (Image: Safer Places)

Alison Askwith, Alex's mother said: "We are honoured to have been invited by Safer Places to open this refuge, which is named Alex House in memory of our son.

"Alex's story ended tragically when he took his own life after enduring domestic abuse.

"This refuge symbolises a beacon of hope and support for those experiencing similar struggles."

Epping Forest Guardian: Daniel and Alison, Alex's parents, opening Alex HouseDaniel and Alison, Alex's parents, opening Alex House (Image: Safer Places)

Statistics reveal one third of all victims of domestic abuse are men, and one in six men suffer from domestic abuse at some point in their life.

Despite the prevalence, many men do not seek support.

The refuge aims to provide them a safe space to receive the help they need.

Epping Forest Guardian: Alex's memorial bench in the garden of the refugeAlex's memorial bench in the garden of the refuge (Image: Safer Places)

Robert Halfon MP said: "I think it’s a very special moment for male victims of domestic abuse so they know that Safer Places are there to look after them (and) thank God they are here to look after people who suffer in this way."