SafeLives calls on Government to invest in the full range of domestic abuse support

16th July 2019

As the Government tables its Domestic Abuse Bill in parliament, new research from domestic abuse charity SafeLives shows there are still not enough domestic abuse professionals for every victim to get the support they need.

SafeLives welcomes the formal introduction of the bill and calls for a fully funded duty on local authorities to assess all the needs of domestic abuse victims and survivors and provide services accordingly, as part of its #Invest2EndAbuse campaign.

Suzanne Jacob OBE, Chief Executive, SafeLives said:

‘SafeLives thanks the Prime Minister for seeing through the guarantees she has given to survivors of domestic abuse first as Home Secretary, then as Prime Minister, with this bill. Its passage through parliament sends a strong message to survivors that their experiences matter to people in power.

‘We trust the Government will want to match the bill with the funding required to end domestic abuse for everyone and for good. That must include fully funded specialist domestic abuse services in the community for adult and child victims to help families stay safe in their own homes, and services to challenge perpetrators’ behaviour, with a statutory duty on local authorities and financial support from central Government. In this way, the full potential of the bill - to save lives and prevent harm - can be realised.’

Key findings of SafeLives’ 2018-19 Practitioner Survey show:

There are still not enough Idvas (Independent domestic violence advisors) to support everyone at high risk of serious harm or murder

Victims of domestic abuse face a dangerous postcode lottery.  300 more Idvas are still needed to support everyone at high risk of serious harm or murder - nine police force areas have less than 50% of the Idva provision required.

Young people still don’t have the support they need

Young people experience some of the highest rates of domestic abuse, at high levels of severity. Despite this, almost one in five police force areas have no specialist support for young people experiencing domestic abuse.

Perpetrators need to be held accountable, but funding is a barrier

More than a third of services were not aware of a response to perpetrators of domestic abuse in their local area – with funding identified as the biggest barrier. In order to reduce the number of people experiencing abuse, perpetrators must be held to account and challenged to change their behaviour.

The Domestic Abuse Bill is a chance to change all this. It’s a chance for the Government to be bold and invest in the full range of support that victims and survivors need. Everyone should be able to access the right support at the right time – whoever they are, wherever they live.

Contact: Natalie Mantle, Head of Communications: natalie.mantle@safelives.org.uk                                                                                                         

Notes to editors:


SafeLives is a UK-wide charity dedicated to ending domestic abuse for everyone and for good. We combine insight from frontline services, survivors and data to support people to become safe, well and rebuild their lives.  Last year, interventions created by SafeLives and our partners supported over 65,000 adults and more than 85,000 children to reach safety, as well as holding to account hundreds of perpetrators.

No one should live in fear. It is not acceptable, not inevitable, and together – we can make it stop. 

Domestic Abuse   

Last year in the UK, more than two million adults suffered some form of domestic abuse.  85% of victims of domestic abuse are having to seek help an average of five times before they get effective support, and four out of five victims of domestic abuse do not call the police. SafeLives Insights data shows that 84% of survivors reported feeling safer after receiving support from an Idva. Of the 48% of victims who had housing needs at intake into a service, 76% received further support. Of these, 9% accessed refuge.

The Practitioner Survey

Each year, at the request of the Home Office, SafeLives collects the number of domestic abuse professionals in England and Wales and their experiences and challenges. The 2018-19 survey is the fifth in the series. We have used police force area as a measure to aggregate data in most cases, because domestic abuse services often cover more than one local authority and many Marac areas. This is not to suggest that services are in all cases connected to local policing. For more information on the research and methodology, contact rea@safelives.org.uk

The #Invest2EndAbuse campaign

The Government is currently proposing to give local authorities in England a duty to provide accommodation-based support as part of the Domestic Abuse Bill. SafeLives are calling on the Government to widen this duty to cover the full range of domestic abuse support, through an online campaign