One in four girls born today, on International Day of the Girl, will grow up to have an abusive partner

11th October 2019

Domestic abuse charities Women’s Aid and SafeLives estimate that one in four girls born today, on the International Day of the Girl Child, will experience domestic abuse by an intimate partner at some point during their lifetime[1]

As part of investment by The National Lottery Community Fund to improve the response to domestic abuse, the two charities are today coming together to highlight evidence that demonstrates the gendered nature of domestic abuse – and call for action to be taken now to stop harm before it begins.   

Research finds that 91% of domestic violent crimes that cause injuries are against women[2]. Women also typically experience higher rates of repeated victimisation and are much more likely to be seriously hurt or killed, with 83% of domestic abuse victims who are subjected to more than 10 violent crimes being women[3]. These figures mask further inequalities – BAME women are less likely to see an arrest, prosecution and conviction for offences against them than their white counterparts, and disabled women are twice as likely to experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.  

Adina Claire, Acting co-Chief Executive at Women’s Aid, said: 

“It is shocking to see how many girls who are born today are likely to experience domestic abuse in the future. 

"At Women’s Aid we know that while domestic abuse can affect all people in all kinds of relationships, the vast majority of domestic abuse is perpetrated by male partners against women. The gendered nature of domestic abuse is fundamentally linked to inequality, which intersects with other forms of discrimination, such as race and disability. Survivors urgently need specialist services that meet their needs, and it is vital that there is a national network of services run by women for women and children.’"

Suzanne Jacob OBE, SafeLives Chief Executive, said: 

“The birth of a child should be a moment of huge hope and expectation. It is totally unacceptable that one in four girls born today will go on to experience domestic abuse in their relationships. We currently play a waiting game, waiting until those relationships are formed before we step in. 

“To prevent future victims, we must take urgent action now. This starts with education – in schools but also in its very broadest sense - teaching all young people what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like, and what their rights and responsibilities are to each other. This education must be reflective of all relationships, whatever form they take. 

“The figures we release today only show part of the problem – we know that many victims still remain ‘hidden’. Hidden from statistics and hidden from the help they urgently need. Younger girls often worry that they’re less deserving of help or that what’s available won’t suit them. We need to invest in a full range of support that sees the whole picture for every individual. Domestic abuse is not acceptable and not inevitable. If we work together we can ensure every child and young woman can live a life free from fear.” 

Please find Women’s Aid and SafeLives shared visual on the gendered nature of domestic abuse below. 

Gender and domestic abuse infographic



For more information or to arrange interviews with Women’s Aid spokeswomen or survivors, please contact the Women’s Aid press office on 020 7566 2511 or email press@womensaid.org.uk 

For interviews and further information from SafeLives, please contact Natalie Mantle, Head of Communications on 07394560466 or email natalie.mantle@safelives.org.uk 


Notes to editors: 

Women’s Aid is the national charity working to end domestic abuse against women and children. Over the past 44 years, Women’s Aid has been at the forefront of shaping and coordinating responses to domestic violence and abuse through practice, research and policy. We empower survivors by keeping their voices at the heart of our work, working with and for women and children by listening to them and responding to their needs. 

We are a federation of over 180 organisations who provide just under 300 local lifesaving services to women and children across the country. We provide expert training, qualifications and consultancy to a range of agencies and professionals working with survivors or commissioning domestic abuse services, and award a National Quality Mark for services which meet our quality standards. We hold the largest national data set on domestic abuse, and use research and evidence to inform all of our work. Our campaigns achieve change in policy, practice and awareness, encouraging healthy relationships and helping to build a future where domestic abuse is no longer tolerated. 

The 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 (run in partnership with Refuge) and our range of online services, which include the Survivors’ Forum, help hundreds of thousands of women and children every year.  Further info: https://www.womensaid.org.uk/ 


SafeLivesWe are SafeLives, the UK-wide charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse, for everyone and for good.

We work with organisations across the UK to transform the response to domestic abuse. We want what you would want for your best friend. We listen to survivors, putting their voices at the heart of our thinking. We look at the whole picture for each individual and family to get the right help at the right time to make families everywhere safe and well. And we challenge perpetrators to change, asking ‘why doesn’t he stop?’ rather than ‘why doesn’t she leave?’ This principle applies whatever the sex of the victim or perpetrator and whatever the nature of their relationship. 

Last year alone, nearly 11,000 professionals working on the frontline received our training. Over 65,000 adults at risk of serious harm or murder and more than 85,000 children received support through dedicated multi-agency support designed by us and delivered with partners. In the last three years, over 1,000 perpetrators have been challenged and supported to change by interventions we created with partners, and that’s just the start. 

Together we can end domestic abuse. Forever. For everyone. 

Further info: www.safelives.org.uk  


[1] Calculated using the average for prevalence of females experiencing partner abuse in the Crime Survey England and Wales (5 years), Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (only 2 years available) and Northern Ireland Crime Survey (5 years). The ONS mid-year 2018 birth estimate was used to calculate number of children born in each of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the likelihood of them being female. This was combined with the probability of a child being born on a given day of the year to estimate the number of girls born on the 11th October 2019.

[2] Walby and Towers, Untangling the concept of coercive control, Table 7, 2018

[3] Walby and Towers, Untangling the concept of coercive control, Table 5, 2018