Press Release

17 December 2020

Refuge responds to news that the Domestic Abuse Bill is set to return to House of Lords on 5th January

Refuge responds to news that the Domestic Abuse Bill is set to return to House of Lords on 5th January

Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, Refuge Chair, said:

“Refuge is delighted to see the Domestic Abuse Bill scheduled to return to the House of Lords for its second reading on the 5th January. This legislation has been many years in the making and we are pleased to see it commence the final stages of the process to become law.  It has the potential to be truly transformational. However, Refuge believes there are still vital changes that need to be made to strengthen the Bill so that it transforms the response to domestic abuse in this country.

The news just this morning shows that migrant women in particular are in need of much greater support to ensure they are able to report domestic abuse to the police without fear and seek specialist support. The work of colleagues across the sector pulls into sharp focus the need to ensure women with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) are better protected. The Domestic Abuse Bill is the perfect vehicle for the government to not only make the changes recommended in the police report published today, but to also abolish the ‘no recourse’ rule and ensure all survivors, including migrant women, can access vital, life-saving support.

Refuge also hopes the Domestic Abuse Bill will change the law and make threatening to share intimate images a crime. Our ‘The Naked Threat’ campaign calls on the Government to do just that and has cross party support across the House of Lords. This simple legislative change would mean that women who receive these threats are able to report them with confidence that the law is on their side.

Refuge hopes the government will start 2021 as it means to go on –  prioritising better protecting women and girls – and the Domestic Abuse Bill is the perfect vehicle to cement that commitment, by ensuring it is as bold and transformative as it has the potential to be. Women’s lives depend on it and we look forward to working with the Government to ensure the Bill has a swift and robust passage into law.”



Interviews available on request with Refuge spokespeople and domestic abuse survivors (who require anonymity and must be interviewed remotely).  Please contact the Press Office on 0207 395 7731 or email

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 has a Tech Safety Tool at

About Refuge

Refuge opened the world’s first refuge in Chiswick, West London, in 1971. Since then, it has grown to become the country’s largest single provider of specialist support to women and children escaping domestic abuse and other forms of gender-based violence. On any given day, Refuge supports more than 7,000 women and children.

Refuge’s national network of specialist services includes safe emergency accommodation through refuges in secret locations across the country; community-based outreach services; culturally specific services for women from South Asian, African and Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Eastern European and Vietnamese backgrounds; a modern slavery service; independent advocacy services for women at the highest risk of serious injury and homicide; a range of single point of access services for women, children and men across entire regions; and the Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline.

Refuge also runs award-winning public awareness campaigns, advises Government and was voted ‘Charity of the Year’ 2016 at The Charity Times Awards.

For more information, please visit or follow Refuge’s work on and Twitter @RefugeCharity