The Domestic Abuse Report 2024: The Annual Audit

The Domestic Abuse Report 2024: The Annual Audit, situated in the context of our 50-year anniversary as a federation, looks at the provision and uptake of domestic abuse services in England. The report demonstrates how specialist domestic abuse services are working at, or even over, capacity more than ever before, and how the commissioning landscape must adapt and improve in order to address the challenges services are facing. 

© Women’s Aid, February 2024 

Please cite this report as: 

Women’s Aid. (2024)The Domestic Abuse Report 2024: The Annual Audit, Bristol: Women’s Aid. 

Key findings:

Specialist domestic abuse services are continually improving the response to domestic abuse.  

  • They empower survivors to lead meaningful lives, as well as keeping the community safe and saving money. This includes recognising diversity of survivors and their experiences, engaging services in the community, identifying gaps and filling them, covering statutory services, and sharing knowledge and expertise.  
  • However, whilst the report demonstrates the unique value that specialist domestic abuse services bring to survivors and society, funding does not reflect this and over forty percent (44.2%) of organisations reported providing a service that should be provided by a statutory agency.  

The rising cost-of-living is having wide-spread impact on survivors and services. 

  • Services reported that often survivors did not have enough money to pay for essentials needed for them and/or their children (79.8%) and needed to access foodbanks (78.8%). A concerning 62.5% of services also reported that survivors had been unable to afford to leave the perpetrator.  
  • Organisations reported that staff were struggling with increased and more challenging workloads (63.5%) due to increases in the cost-of-living and were struggling to recruit for vacant roles at the salaries they can pay (57.7%), with some losing staff who needed to move to higher paid roles elsewhere (48.1%).  
  • Around a third (32.7%) of organisations reported that they had received some financial relief related to the rising cost-of-living which was able to mitigate some of these issues for survivors, including the Home Office Emergency Fund, which was distributed by Women’s Aid.  

Domestic abuse and VAWG services continued to struggle with adequate funding and meeting demand.  

  • This year, almost half (49%) of the organisations surveyed for the report were forced to run an area of their domestic abuse service without dedicated funding, which was especially the case for services like therapeutic support, domestic abuse prevention and community-based support services, all of which play an integral part in helping women fleeing from abuse.  
  • Almost a quarter (23.5%) of those who were running a service without dedicated funding were running ‘children and young people’s domestic abuse services in refuge’ and/or ‘children and young people’s domestic abuse services in the community’ (15.7%), showing that clearly funding gaps remain for child survivors of domestic abuse, despite changes under the Domestic Abuse Act.  

The statutory duty offers opportunities to some services, but inconsistent implementation is creating barriers.  

  • Some organisations reported examples of good practice in commissioning being rolled out under the statutory duty, including additional funding in some cases, based on identified needs through comprehensive needs assessments. A quarter (25.0%) felt that it had improved local partnership working, and one in ten had noticed longer term (12.5%) or more secure (11.3%) funding. 
  • However, meanwhile, around a fifth reported delays (22.5%) and shorter-term (17.5%) funding and over a third (33.8%) reported more demands for data, which were placing more strains on their capacity.  

Good commissioning practices must be learnt from and replicated across the board, particularly to ensure that the Domestic Abuse Act is implemented meaningfully 

  • 41.3% of services said that domestic abuse commissioning in their local area had had a ‘mostly positive’ impact for survivors, and 3.8% felt there had been a detrimental impact.  
  • Good commissioning practices should include comprehensive and consultative needs assessments and strategies, collaboration with experts in the specialist domestic abuse support sector and recognition of their value, longer-term commissioning and adequate funding, as well as enabling efficient data collection and reporting. 

Women’s Aid have developed resources to support specialist domestic abuse services with their commissioning and advocacy needs. You can request a copy at:  

Please let us know if you cite our research so we can track our impact:    

On the 26th March, Women’s Aid held a webinar exploring the findings of the Annual Audit 2024 and discussed the implications for service delivery and commissioning over the next year. Watch the webinar below:

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