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10 March 2023

Refuge responds to BBC Question Time comments

Following the broadcast of BBC Question Time last night, concerns have been raised about an exchange involving the host Fiona Bruce, who is a long standing Refuge supporter and Ambassador, with a significant history of standing against domestic abuse and violence against women and girls.

Refuge’s position is clear – domestic abuse is never a ‘one off’, it is a pattern of behaviour that can manifest in a number of ways, including physical abuse. Domestic abuse is never acceptable.

We have spoken to Fiona today, and she is appalled that any of her words have been understood as her minimising domestic violence. We know she is deeply upset that this has been triggering for survivors.

Like the host of any BBC programme, when serious on-air allegations are made about someone, Fiona is obliged to put forward a right of reply from that person or their representatives, and that was what happened last night. These are not in any way Fiona’s own views about the situation.

Refuge has a long history of working with Fiona, who has been an active supporter of ours for some 25 years, and continually uses her profile to campaign publicly against domestic abuse, and to advocate for survivors.

Fiona is deeply sorry that last night’s programme has distressed survivors of domestic abuse. Refuge stands by her and all survivors today.

We continue to be appreciative of all the work Fiona does on behalf of Refuge and recognise the immense contribution she has made to our work to end domestic abuse and challenge violence against women and girls.

This response has now been superseded by a new statement which can be read here: Refuge statement on Fiona Bruce ambassador role