Four questions to ask your local candidate this election

You can help calling on all candidates to commit to prioritising tackling domestic abuse by speaking to your local candidates if they door-knock or by attending a hustings or local debate and raising the issue of domestic abuse.

Download our questions to your local candidates

This General Election, we’re calling on all candidates to commit to prioritising tackling domestic abuse, including coercive and controlling behaviour and economic abuse, by:

  • Improving the system for survivors of domestic abuse by reforming the criminal justice, family courts, welfare and housing systems. 
  • Investing in specialist domestic abuse services by introducing adequate, sustainable funding for specialist domestic abuse services. 
  • Making the country safer for women and girls by tackling police-perpetrated Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) and protecting the safety of women and girls online. 

But we can’t do this alone. You can help by speaking to your local candidates if they door-knock or by attending a hustings or local debate and raising the issue of domestic abuse.

We’ve pulled together four short questions you can ask your candidate and some things to look out for in their response.

You could preface your question by saying “I’m a supporter of Refuge, the largest specialist domestic abuse organisation in the UK, someone turns to Refuge every two minutes for support.”

1. I want my MP to make addressing domestic abuse their priority. How will your party do this? What key policies do you have in this area? 

A woman’s right to live safely and free from violence is under threat. The needs of women and domestic abuse survivors must not be forgotten or deprioritised by the next government. We want to hear specific policies form parties, not vague statements of support and concern. 

2. Domestic abuse services are chronically underfunded. If elected, how will your party fund them? What level of investment could we expect? 

Domestic abuse services have a long history of poor funding and gaps in service provision. Refuge and our allies have costed what is required to adequately fund services and are calling for more than £427m per year in funding1.

1. Women’s Aid. (2023) Investing to save: the economic case for funding specialist domestic abuse support. (

3. Many domestic abuse survivors are tragically let down by the criminal justice system, how will you improve the system for survivors? 

There needs to be a drastic improvement in how VAWG is prioritised and how seriously it is taken across the system – from the moment a survivor reports a crime. We’re calling for an improved police response, specialist training for professionals in the system, quicker court trials and decisions, stronger sentencing and the exemption of VAWG perpetrators from early release prison schemes. 

4. Women’s trust in police is at an all-time low. What measures will you take to reform the police and root out abusers? 

There should be a zero-tolerance approach to abuse and abusers within policing starting with mandatory suspension of officers and staff while under investigation for allegations of abuse and better vetting processes.

Supporting facts: 

  • 1 in 4 women in England and Wales will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime. (ONS 2023) 
  • Almost 1 in 5 crimes recorded by the police are domestic abuse-related. (ONS 2022) 
  • The economic and social costs of domestic abuse in England were just under £78 billion in 2022. (Women’s Aid 2023) 
  • 39% of women say that they have either not much or no trust in the police to handle the issue of violence against women and girls.
  • 1 in 3 UK women (36%) has experienced online abuse or harassment on social media or another online platform.


  • Hustings
    A hustings is a meeting where election candidates or parties debate policies and answer questions from the audience. They provide voters with an opportunity to hear the views of candidates or parties.
  • VAWG
    Stands for ‘Violence Against Women and Girls’. A general term used to cover all abuse against women and girls, including domestic abuse.
  • PPC
    Stands for ‘Prospective Parliamentary Candidate’ – anyone running for a seat in parliament in a General Election. These are your local candidates.
  • Criminal Justice System
    The collective name for all the professional bodies that are involved with investigating, prosecuting and sentencing crimes and managing offenders for example police forces, courts, the prison service. 


Did you talk to a candidate about our election issues? Let us know how it went at