About Women’s Aid research and data
Women’s Aid collects data on the full range of domestic abuse services, the survivors that they support, and the role of communities and statutory agencies in tackling domestic abuse. We hold four key national data sets which give valuable evidence on the experiences of survivors at every stage of their journey from recognition to freedom and the services which support them.
Much of the information Women’s Aid collects comes from local domestic abuse services including both members and non-members of our federation. These services are provided by specialist dedicated providers, housing associations and other charities.
The Research Integrity Framework (RIF) for Domestic Violence and Abuse
On the 30th November 2020, the four Women’s Aid federations from Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland published a Research Integrity Framework (RIF) to show the quality of research on domestic abuse. Developed with and endorsed by academic researchers, this framework provides decision-makers with clarity on the merits of different types of evidence and research, and the principles of integrity relating to research on domestic abuse.
On Track is our case management and outcomes monitoring system. It contains data on the experiences of over 100,000 women supported by local domestic abuse services across England, as well our own Live Chat, email and No Woman Turned Away Project. On Track reports to a core outcomes framework for survivors, developed in partnership with Imkaan.
On Track’s national data includes a range of information about survivor’s journeys. For adults and children and young people accessing domestic abuse support services, On Track records data on referral patterns, experiences of abuse, support need, profile of survivors, support profivided, outcomes, feedback, negative experiences of external services (e.g. housing, legal services, local authority safeguarding, NHS, police).
Routes to Support is the UK wide database of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) services and refuge vacancies, run in partnership with Women’s Aid Federation of Northern Ireland, Scottish Women’s Aid and Welsh Women’s Aid.
It contains detailed, up to date information on the nature and scope of VAWG services throughout the UK including services for specific groups of women and women with additional support needs. The database includes services addressing sexual violence and exploitation, trafficking, FGM, forced marriage, honour-based violence, harassment/stalking and online abuse. It also contains current information about bed spaces available in refuge services and vacancies available.
The database enables us to collect data on the level of provision across England and changes to services in each Local Authority, providing information on services available and any shortages.
The Women’s Aid Annual Survey, an annual online survey to all domestic abuse services (both refuge services and community-based services) for female victims in England listed on the Routes to Support database. The survey collects information the challenges and successes faced by local domestic abuse services. Findings from the survey are combined with data from Routes to Support to give a picture of service provision and On Track to give a picture of the women using these services and published in our Annual Audit report series.
The No Woman Turned Away (NWTA) project explores the reasons why women have difficult, delayed or incomplete journeys into refuge. Detailed analysis runs alongside frontline provision of specialist domestic abuse practitioners who support women who face additional barriers trying to access refuge spaces.
The project uses data from the specialist domestic abuse practitioners, the annual survey and additional survey and interview data with survivors to provide detailed monitoring and analysis of evidence on survivors’ needs and system response, which can be used to shape the future of refuge provision. The findings are published in our Nowhere to Turn series of reports.
Research with partners. We also carry out ad hoc focused research projects with expert partners to give us information on issues important to domestic abuse survivors. This often includes rich data from surveys with the survivors using our online, moderated discussion forum, The Survivors’ Forum, as well as face-to-face interviews/focus groups and telephone interviews. For example, we published a report on financial abuse with the TUC in 2015, informed by primary research with domestic abuse survivors. In January 2016, we published the report Nineteen Child Homicides, a detailed investigation into cases where children had been killed by a perpetrator of domestic abuse during, or as a result of, unsafe child contact. In 2018 we published with Queen Mary’s University of London What about my right not to be abused? Domestic abuse, human rights and the family courts. This report examines domestic abuse and child contact proceedings in the family courts through the lens of human rights. We also undertook research (project ended in May 2018) with the Centre for Gender and Violence Research at the University of Bristol into survivors’ experiences of the criminal justice system.
Change that Lasts is our plan for a future where all survivors get the right response to domestic abuse the very first time. Through detailed monitoring and evaluation of pilot projects across England, we have been strengthening the evidence base and impact briefings are available on our research and publication page which show what works in supporting survivors in the community, through professional responses and in expert services. Our network of community ambassadors has provided us with fresh insight into the community response to domestic abuse, including the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.