Press Release

7 April 2021

New Economics Foundation (NEF) analysis of Refuge’s specialist services

Refuge announces New Economics Foundation (NEF) analysis of spend on its specialist services. For every £1 invested, £8.24 of social value is generated; a 100% increase in just five years

In 2020, Refuge, the country’s largest provider of specialist domestic abuse services, commissioned NEF Consulting (NEF) to carry out an analysis of how much societal (i.e. social and economic) value is delivered from every £1 it spends on its services.

Over the year period NEF found that for every £1 Refuge spends on services it generated an average of £8.24 of social value (this represents a near doubling of value created compared to 2016 when NEF last undertook this evaluation).   NEF estimates the total social value generated by Refuge’s specialist services at £86 million per year.

Jane Keeper, director of operations and services at Refuge, said: “Refuge supports around 7,000 women and children on any given day. Our frontline services not only change and save the lives of women and children experiencing domestic abuse in this country – but also bring wider societal value to the women we support. The analysis also found that savings to the State from Refuge’s services were highest in the area of health, followed closely by safety, through reduced costs to the criminal justice system.  It is wonderful to see – and testament to our amazing frontline workers – that NEF has been able to show the value our services deliver which is more than eight times our spend.

“This evaluation makes a very strong and clear case for funding specialist domestic abuse services. We hope these figures will be well received by our commissioners and donors and make them feel yet more confident that when they support Refuge’s specialist services, we will use their money wisely and maximise the outcomes we deliver for women and children.”

Beti Baraki, Consultant, NEF Consulting, said: “We have been commissioned by Refuge to prepare a social valuation of its services. The study analysed the impact generated by Refuge’s services for three sets of stakeholders: women, their children, and the State. The study found the social value generated by Refuge’s services is eight times greater than the amount of money invested in them, demonstrating the vital support Refuge provides for survivors of violence. Yet violence against women remains widespread with devastating impact on survivors, their children and the wider society. This study is a clear indication of the need for a long-term, sustainable funding for specialist domestic violence services, which reflect the social value they generate”.


Notes to editors:

  • To arrive at this calculation, NEF analysed Refuge’s anonymised IMPACT case outcome data and assigned financial proxies to each outcome,  to ‘value’ the social value or change Refuge made to the lives of the women using its services, their children and the State
  • Outcomes, or the changes in women’s lives, were then identified and grouped into four categories; safety, health, social wellbeing and economic wellbeing
  • The analysis found that State savings were highest in the area of health, followed closely by safety through reduced costs to the criminal justice system
  • Distribution of benefits: Of the three stakeholders groups (women, their children, and the State) women capture the largest share of benefits at 82%. Children capture 20% of the value and the State incurs a net cost of 2%. The distribution of benefits by outcome domain is unequivocal: safety accounts for 59% of the social return on investment; social and economic wellbeing account for 21% and 11% respectively; with health accounting for the remaining 8%
  • NEF Consulting is the consultancy within the New Economics Foundation. To contact or for more information on their analysis they can be contacted via or visit

Read the report here.

About Refuge:

Refuge supports more than 7,000 women and children on any given day, and 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.