National Quality Standards

National Quality Standards

We are pleased to introduce the 2024 refresh of the Women’s Aid National Quality Standards (NQS). Our ‘Gold Standard’ of accreditation now offers a robust, independent framework of good practice, informed by our 50 years leading the specialist domestic abuse sector and listening to survivors. 

We know that commissioners are increasingly interested in quality and are including quality standards in service specifications and commissioning processes. Women’s Aid NQS accreditation allows commissioners and other funders to be assured of the quality and safety of service delivery. 


Having standards like these sends a strong message to victims and survivors about their importance, their voice, the kindness of services and approach that they deserve. That is so important

Women’s Aid NQS is the only accreditation that recognises and represents the work of specialist women-led domestic abuse services in England and the unique value and high-level impact member organisations deliver in offering dedicated lifesaving services that centre the needs and voices of survivors.

Women’s Aid NQS focus is not just on the expertise, knowledge, and effectiveness of specialist domestic abuse services, but also services’ ability to evidence, maintain and promote survivor led outcomes that are designed for services that centre the long-term safety and recovery of survivors, as well as the prevention of further harm. The Women’s Aid National Quality Standards are referenced in the government’s statutory guidance (Domestic Abuse Act 2021) as best practice. 

There are 7 ‘Core Standards’. Of these, 5 are ‘Mandatory’, and 2 are ‘Additional Standard Areas’ and are dependent on a service’s delivery model. In addition, there are 4 ‘Further Standard Areas’ that are also applicable based on an organisations’ service delivery. 

Mandatory Standard Areas: 
Standard 1 – Safety & Respect 
Standard 2 – Equality & Rights 
Standard 3 – Health, Recovery & Autonomy 
Standard 4 – Power & Prevention 
Standard 5 – Leadership and Accountability

Additional Standard Areas: 

Standard 6 – Children and Young People 
Standard 7 – Accommodation Services 

Further Standard Areas 

Therapeutic Services 
Male Victims 
Perpetrator Services 
Helpline & Digital Service 

How does the Standards Process work?

Services are assessed against the standards through initial application, documentary reviews of evidence submitted against each standard, a site visit to the service by an assessor to observe facilities, conduct interviews and review confidential files, A final decision on the accreditation is made by a Quality Assessment Panel of independent violence against women and girls experts. On achieving accreditation, organisations receive a Quality Mark. 

How do I find out more?

To find out more please e-mail

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