About Refuge

Refuge is the largest specialist domestic abuse organisation in the UK. On any given day our services support thousands of survivors, helping them to overcome the physical, emotional, financial and logistical impacts of abuse and rebuild their lives — free from fear.

We opened the world’s first safe house for women and children in 1971.

It was in Chiswick, West London. Women and children escaping domestic abuse flocked to our doors because, for the first time, someone was saying it was wrong to beat your partner. Back then, domestic abuse was seen as a “private matter”, to be dealt with behind closed doors. Society turned a blind eye.

Since 1971, Refuge has led the campaign against domestic abuse. We’ve grown to become the country’s largest single provider of specialist domestic and gender-based violence services.

"It’s so nice to have such a supportive team on my side when for ages the system has been so hard (almost impossible) to navigate, and I felt I would never get anywhere. I wish everyone had this level of support, I feel it has literally saved my life at times, so thank you."

Survivor of domestic abuse