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Research and resources for healthcare professionals providing care to victims of domestic abuse.

Health providers must be part of the long-term solution to tackle domestic abuse.

4 in 5 victims don’t go to the police, but almost all will visit a health service at one time or another. Asking about domestic abuse and giving the appropriate response must be routine if we are to identify all victims – particularly the most vulnerable.

By failing to ask a victim questions in hospital, we are enabling them to be discharged back into the arms of the perpetrator who put them there. We know risk increases in pregnancy, and that abuse is inextricably linked with mental health needs. Our research shows that experiencing domestic abuse is also an issue for staff working across healthcare systems.

We want to see a comprehensive health response across the UK, with Idvas co-located in hospital and all staff trained to ask, respond and refer.

Facts and figures

  • Facts and figures

    of women in a violent relationship seek help from health service, usually GPs, at least once

    and this may be their first or only contact with professionals.

  • Facts and figures

    of domestic abuse starts/escalates during pregnancy

  • Facts and figures
    1 in 4

    women in contact with mental health services are likely to be experiencing domestic abuse when you see them

  • Facts and figures

    NHS staff are likely to have experienced abuse in the past 12 months

  • Facts and figures
    £1.73 billion

    is the calculated cost of domestic abuse to the NHS

    (with mental health costs estimated at an additional £176 million)

Our work within health

Learn about our projects to document and transform the health response to domestic abuse


A national project to transform healthcare's response to domestic violence and abuse by ensuring a coordinated and consistent approach across the health system.

Whole Health London

A three-year project on a whole health approach to transform the health response to victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse across the capital.

Domestic abuse is a public health epidemic and health must be part of the solution. We must meet victims where they are. We know four of five victims do not call the police. We have to go to them: where they feel supported, where they feel safe and free from stigma.

Diana Barran, SafeLives founder

Research resources

See our research and policy resources on the health response to domestic abuse
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Young people: research briefings

Evidence and briefings from our Young People's Programme in 2014 - exploring the intersection between young people experiencing domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation (CSE), poor mental health, online abuse, substance misuse, and parenthood. 

Psychological violence report

This report explores the daily experiences of people living with psychological abuse and the tactics used to threaten and control by those perpetrating the abuse.

Health Pathfinder evaluation reports

Evaluation findings of the 3-year national pilot project to create an innovative and sustainable model responding to domestic abuse across the health system.

We only do bones here

Report mapping the domestic abuse response within health settings in London and making recommendations for the most effective means of securing a whole-health response.

When I went to A+E the doctor told me we only do bones here, not that ‘relationship mental health stuff’. But didn’t offer to refer me to somewhere that did.


Resources for professionals and blogs

View our libraries of resources and blogs on the health response to domestic abuse

Blogs on health and domestic abuse

Blogs from SafeLives staff, Pioneers and expert guests

More on our research and policy work

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Policy and influencing

We use our knowledge and expertise to influence local and national policy, transforming the lives of families affected by abuse. We work with everyone who wants to stop domestic abuse.
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Children and young people

Find out more about Safe Young Lives our programme of work across the UK to reduce the risk experienced by young people and to improve the care pathways they can access.
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Men and boys

Research on young men and boys’ experiences of abuse, views on masculinity and understanding of healthy relationships.

Domestic Abuse Act

Find out more about the four-year journey to ensure this milestone legislation was a true leap forward for domestic abuse survivors and frontline services.


#Invest2EndAbuse calls for the UK Government to invest in specialist domestic abuse support, by including a full statutory duty on local authorities to provide both accommodation-based and community-based services.

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