A Safe Fund: costing domestic abuse provision for the whole family

Government-funded figures put the cost of domestic abuse at £66 billion a year. The largest proportion is the physical and emotional harm caused to victims (£47bn), while also costing the Exchequer £19bn in loss of economic output and spending to deal with the consquences of domestic abuse across the NHS, the criminal justice system and services for victims/survivors. 

We urgently need a fully-funded suite of domestic abuse interventions that seek to respond to the whole family: adult victims, teen and child victims, and perpetrators. Our research puts the cost of this provision at £2.2 billion, a sum that could turn the tide on domestic abuse for the 2 million adults and 1 in 5 children who experience it every year. This is an inclusive figure recognising that people with protected characteristics may need additional or specific types of support - something which is poorly addressed in current funding models.

This breaks down as:

  • A significant proportion of this spend, £1bn, would be to support adult victims’ services, with those for children approximating £330m, and those for perpetrators totalling £680m.
  • A cultural change programme for frontline public sector professionals, as well as police and specialist DA workers, including social services, court officials and health workers to increase understanding of domestic abuse and help drive improvements to responses would cost an initial £65.5m, tapering away as it is rolled out.
  • And noting the impact of the Government’s recent #youarenotalone campaign, we recommend an initial investment of £5m in an ongoing public health campaign to change public attitudes towards domestic abuse, shifting the narrative from “why doesn’t she leave” to “why doesn’t he stop”, while signposting victims, perpetrators and friends and family to support.

The full report: A Safe Fund: costing domestic abuse provision for the whole family

Victims' Commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Vera Baird QC, said:

This is an excellent piece of work making it clear what relatively small funding would be required to properly resource frontline domestic abuse services and take them off the shoestring on which they permanently dangle. The need for emergency funding during the pandemic has made us all see how fragile their survival is.  Compare this figure to the estimated annual cost of £66bn to Exchequer in healthcare, criminal justice, lost working days and a host of other impacts. This is about investing properly to tackle domestic abuse and at the same time investing to save those costs.