Spotlight #7: Domestic abuse and mental health



What the data tells us


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For this Spotlight, we are proud to be partnering with AVA – Against Violence and Abuse – a leading UK charity committed to ending gender based violence and abuse. 

What you can expect

Our seventh Spotlight focuses on victims and survivors of domestic abuse who experience mental health difficulties.

We know that domestic abuse can have a severe and lasting impact on mental health, and that survivors often find it difficult to access the support they need. Our research also shows that victims and survivors with mental health problems are more likely to have other complex needs. We must see the whole picture for every victim, survivor and family so that everyone can be free to live the lives they want to live.

Through a combination of blogs, podcasts and videos, we’ll be posting the latest research, practical resources and guidance. We also want to hear from you: join the conversation on Twitter, using the hashtag #SafeAndWell.

Read the report

Download the policy report Safe and Well for all the data, survivor voices and key practice recommmendations. 

Read our press release calling on the Government to take action.

If you would like to reference this report, please use the following: SafeLives (2019) Safe and Well: Mental health and domestic abuse.


Donna Covey, Chief Executive AVA – Why mental health support for survivors of domestic abuse is so vital

Sarah Hughes, Standing Together Against Domestic Violence – Tips for mental health professionals working with survivors

Amber Canham – A view from the frontline: the role of the Mental Health Idva

Vickie Crompton, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Partnership Manager for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – Collaboration between Idvas and CPNs

Kathryn Lake, Mental Health Community Nurse for the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust – Domestic abuse: how can Community Mental Health Nurses respond?

Susie Hay, SafeLives Head of Research, Evaluation and Analysis – Young people, domestic abuse and mental health

Shirley McNicholas, Women's Lead for Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust – Responding to women's mental health needs

Dr Kate Pitt, University of Bristol – Domestic abuse and mental health: a GP's perspective

Kathy Bonney, Head of Safeguarding at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Linsey, a Hospital Idva – The role of hospitals in responding to domestic abuse and mental health

Louisa Steele, Standing Together Against Domestic Violence – Domestic abuse, mental health and homelessness

Lindsay Sutherland, SafeLives Research Analyst – LGBT+ survivors and mental health

Jonathan Fowler, Mental Health Advisor for the Drive programme – The impact of mental health on the response to perpetrators of domestic abuse

Medina Johnson, Chief Executive of IRISi – Listening to the words women use to describe their mental health and hearing what they need

Alison Eley, Named Nurse for Safeguarding Children, Domestic Abuse and Marac lead for South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust – The role of the mental health representative at Marac

Jo Sharpen, Policy Manager at AVA – Trauma informed work: the key to supporting women

Asha Iqbal, Founder of Generation Reform – Challenging the stigma around mental ill-health in BME communities


Collette speaks to Kathryn and Shakti, who both work in the domestic abuse sector, about their experiences of domestic abuse as children and the impact on their mental health.

Download a transcript

Brandy speaks to Jane from Shared Lives, a national scheme in which people with additional needs including mental health problems, move into the home of an approved Shared Lives carer. Also joining them is Natalie from SafeLives, who is working with Shared Lives to pilot the Shared Lives intervention for survivors of domestic abuse.

Download a transcript

Collette speaks to Kylee Trevellion from the Women's Mental Health department at King's College

Download a transcript

Brandy speaks to Dr Savin Bapir-Tardy from IKWRO, about the impact of 'honour'-based violence on mental health

Download a transcript

Amy speaks to Jessica Southgate from Agenda, about how mental health services are treating women

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Gene Feder talks about the results of a trial which provided domestic abuse workers with the skills to offer mental health support to their clients.

Download a transcript

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