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How many women and children use refuge or other domestic violence services? 28.01.08


The total number of women supported by domestic violence services in England (both residential and non-residential) on one typical day (2nd November 2006) – was 11,310. This has increased by 50% since 2003.



On a typical day, 3615 women and 3,580 children are resident in refuge accommodation in England.  This is an increase of 12% over the past 4 years.  50% of these children are aged under 5 years.

Table 1: Estimated numbers of women and children using refuge accommodation annually

Survey Period  Women Children
2002/03  17,094  21,465
2003/04 18,569 23,084
2004/05 19,836  24,347
2005/06 16, 815 19, 450


Table 2: Estimated numbers of women with no recourse to public funds entering refuge

Survey Period  Women given refuge accommodation % of total women given refuge
2002/03  301 1.76%
2003/04 368 1.98%
2004/05 477  2.4%
2005/6 305 1.8%

Women and children provided with floating support, outreach and advocacy services

Many domestic violence organisations offer non-refuge-based services such as outreach, floating support, and advocacy services in addition to, or separate from, the provision of refuge accommodation.  78% of organisations responding to the 2005-6 Annual Survey offer some of these services, a majority of which also provide refuge accommodation (1) . 19% of all those responding offer outreach, advocacy and/or floating support services only.

Extrapolating (2) from the figures provided by those responding to our Annual Survey, we estimate that 114, 430 women and 7, 660 children were directly supported by outreach, advocacy and floating support services during 2005-6.  A further 68, 850 children were indirectly supported through the support given to their mothers (3).

Table 3: Estimated numbers of women and children supported by all domestic violence services (both refuge-based and non-refuge-based) annually

Survey Period  Women – total number supported in all services  Children – total number supported in all services
2002/03  122, 570
87, 796
2003/04 142, 526 106, 118
2004/05 196, 205
129, 193
2005/6 131, 245 95, 960


View a full report of the results of our Annual Surveys 2004-5 and 2005-6 plus our 2006 Census day results.




1. 75% of those offering non-refuge-based domestic violence services also provide refuge accommodation.

2. Because the response from outreach-only services was lower (at only 50%) than that from services offering refuge accommodation, we have made an additional adjustment to the data from this group to take this into account; i.e. using the overall response rate of 67%. 

3. This figure is likely to be considerably under-estimated, given that many services did not keep records of the numbers of children living with those women they supported in non-refuge services.