Survivors of domestic abuse are facing multiple barriers to accessing refuge. Women’s Aid has been working with these women and their children to make sure no woman is turned away.

Our report from the second year of the No Woman Turned Away (NWTA) project shows repeated failings from statutory services to those in priority need who are vulnerable due to fleeing domestic abuse. This is set against the backdrop of cuts to local authority budgets and a social housing sector which is in crisis.

Key findings

11.7% were forced to sleep rough during their search for a refuge, of which three women were pregnant and five women had their children with them.

Almost half of women (46%) were forced to sofa-surf, of which 65 women sofa-surfed with their children.

Nearly one in ten women (8%) gave up their search and stayed put with the perpetrator.

One in five women (21%) were accommodated in a suitable refuge space through the support of the specialist caseworkers.

This report is compiled from data collected between 12th January 2017 and 11th January 2018 by specialist caseworkers employed by Women’s Aid to support women for whom the National Domestic Violence Helpline (run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge) were not able to find a refuge vacancy. During this time, 264 women were supported by the NWTA specialist caseworkers.

In its second year the project revealed a widespread systemic failure from statutory agencies such as housing, social care and the police. Of the women supported by the project, 97 women approached their local housing team for support. Over half of these women (53.6%) were prevented from making a valid homeless application. This meant, they were refused assistance with emergency accommodation.

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© 2015 Women's Aid Federation of England – Women’s Aid is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 3171880.

Women’s Aid is a registered charity in England No. 1054154

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