Press Release

4 June 2021

Refuge CEO Ruth Davison responds to reports of police officers perpetrating domestic abuse


Ruth Davison, Refuge CEO, said:

“It is shocking, yet sadly not surprising, to see the scale of domestic abuse perpetrated by police officers, the very people tasked with protecting women and children. What is more concerning still is that these abuses are too often perpetrated without consequence, as police officers accused of domestic abuse are a third less likely to be convicted than the general public.

What message does this send to women experiencing abuse at the hands of a policeman? It’s hard enough for women to find the courage to report to the police – only around 20% ever do.  This troubling data shows that it must be yet harder for women in a relationship with a police officer to do and the chance of them receiving justice much less likely.  The police urgently need to get their own house in order before they will ever instill the confidence women who experience domestic abuse need to bravely make contact with the police.

The police response must change – and fast. Refuge strongly supports the work of The Centre for Women’s Justice and the super-complaint submitted to police watchdogs.”


About Refuge:

Refuge is the country’s largest single provider of specialist domestic services and supports more than 7,000 women and children on any given day. Refuge also runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which is the gateway to accessing specialist support across the country. More than one in four women in England and Wales experiences domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime, and two women a week are killed by a current or former partner.

Please signpost to Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000 247, available 24 hours a day 7 days a week for free, confidential specialist support. Or visit to fill in a webform and request a safe time to be contacted or to access live chat (live chat available 3pm-10pm, Monday to Friday). For real time automated guidance on how to secure your personal devices Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool.