Women’s Aid releases Annual Survey 2015 statistics

“On just one day, 92 women and 75 children were turned away from refuge”: Women’s Aid releases Annual Survey 2015 statistics

 The Women’s Aid Annual Survey 2015 found that:

  • On just one day, 92 women and 75 children were turned away from refuge. For nearly half of the women (45.65%), it was because there was not enough space for them.
  • Over two thirds (66.1%) of referrals to refuges were declined and only a third (33.9%) were accepted.
  • Nearly a quarter (23.27%) of the total referrals were declined due to the refuge’s lack of available bedspace.
  • On just one day, there were 1835 children and young people living in a domestic abuse refuge; a further 1984 children received direct support from community-based domestic abuse services in just one week. The same services provided indirect support for a further 7762 children or young people.
  • Only one in five women using domestic abuse services had seen a criminal case or ongoing criminal proceedings against the perpetrator.*
  • Nearly 10% of the total referrals were declined because the service was unable to meet the woman’s support or access needs around mental health, language, drug and alcohol issues, disability or around a previous conviction.
  • On one day, services were providing mental health support to 33.7% of women in refuge. The proportion of survivors with mental health and other specific complex support needs is likely to be substantially higher than this figure suggest, given that many referrals for domestic abuse support are declined because the service does not have the capacity or the resources to meet their specific needs.
  • 77.6% of women accessing refuge had come from a different area.
  • Domestic abuse services say that the biggest challenge they faced over the past year was related to lack of, or uncertainty of, funding. Almost half (44%) of the domestic abuse services were running part of their service without dedicated funding.

 Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:

“The situation for domestic abuse survivors and their children in England is dire, and their access to vital services is dwindling. On just one day in 2015, our Annual Survey found that 92 women and 75 children were turned away from refuge. For nearly half of these women, it was because there was not enough space for them. This is a snapshot of the crisis. We need decisive action from our leaders, and we need it urgently. An average of two women a week are killed by a partner or ex-partner in England and Wales. We urgently need more investment in domestic abuse services, which is compounded by the fact that more women are disclosing their abuse – and this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

*On one day, about one in five women resident in refuge (21.5%, 400 out of 1864) and in one week, about one in five of those using community-based services (22.4%, 1, 722 out of 7682) had seen a criminal case or ongoing criminal proceedings against the perpetrator.

Women's Aid Annual Survey 2015 cover
Women’s Aid Annual Survey 2015

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The Annual Survey 2015 questionnaire was sent out in September 2015 to all domestic abuse services in England. At the time there were 356 services in England on the domestic abuse services database UK Refuges Online (UKROL).  The statistics are based on responses to 162 service providers in September 2015.

We asked services questions about their provision and service users over three main time periods:

  • The previous financial year (1st April 2014 – 31st March 2015)
  • A census day for refuge services called The Day to Count (Thursday 24th September 2015)
  • A census week for community-based services called The Week to Count (Monday 21st September – Friday 25th September 2015 inclusive)


Women’s Aid is the national charity working to end domestic abuse against women and children.  Over the past 40 years, Women’s Aid has been at the forefront of shaping and coordinating responses to domestic violence and abuse through practice. We empower survivors by keeping their voices at the heart of our work, working with and for women and children by listening to them and responding to their needs. We are a federation of over 220 organisations who provide more than 300 local lifesaving services to women and children across the country. We provide expert training, qualifications and consultancy to a range of agencies and professionals working with survivors or commissioning domestic abuse services, and award a National Quality Mark for services which meet our quality standards. Our campaigns achieve change in policy, practice and awareness, encouraging healthy relationships and helping to build a future where domestic abuse is no longer tolerated. The 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 (run in partnership with Refuge) and our range of online services, which include the Survivors’ Forum, help hundreds of thousands of women and children every year.

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© 2022 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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