The Domestic Abuse Report 2020: The Annual Audit

The Domestic Abuse Report 2020: The Annual Audit The Domestic Abuse Report 2020: The Annual Audit gives an overview of the domestic abuse support services available in England, and including provision and usage, during the financial year 2018–19.

Every year the Domestic Abuse Report also includes a separate thematic element. The 2020 thematic report will be published later in the year.

© Women’s Aid, March 2020

Please cite this report as:
Women’s Aid (2020) The Domestic Abuse Report 2020: The Annual Audit, Bristol: Women’s Aid.

Key Findings

Demand for all domestic abuse services continues to exceed available provision. This has led to a number of dangerous outcomes, including survivors of domestic abuse being turned away from refuge services, long waiting lists for community-based services, and staff being unable to cope with extremely high workloads.

  • 64% of refuge referrals were declined last year
  • The number of refuge bed spaces in England is now 30% below the number recommended by the Council of Europe.
  • Only 5% of refuge vacancies listed last year could accommodate women with no recourse to public funds, and less than half had the capacity to accept women with more than two children.
  • Service providers cited the funding crisis as the biggest issue facing the domestic abuse sector. They identified four key problems: problematic competitive tendering; uncertainty over future funding; funding not covering full costs of delivery; and running an area of work with no dedicated funding.
  • Nearly half of the service providers who responded to Women’s Aid Annual Survey 2019 were running an area of work without any dedicated funding. Of this group, 48% ran community-based services (such as outreach, floating support or advocacy) without funding, 37% ran prevention/educational work without funding, 34% ran refuge accommodation without funding and 31% ran therapeutic support services without funding.
  • For services running an area of work without any dedicated funding, 74% had to use reserves to cover costs, 36% lost staff as a result of job insecurity, and 32% relied on volunteers to deliver the service.
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