Press Release

17 September 2021

Refuge responds to HMICFRS report

In response to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) final report on the inspection into police engagement with women and girls, Ruth Davison, Refuge CEO said:

‘Refuge welcomes Her Majesty’s Inspectorate’s final report into police engagement with women and girls. We are pleased to see HMICFRS have highlighted the vital changes that Refuge and our colleagues across the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) sector have long called for. But while these recommendations are necessary, the real success will be in the actioning of them. For too long, Refuge has seen report after report which has outlined a positive path forward, yet too often we see a failure to implement strong recommendations. This must change. The report rightly calls for ‘radical action’ and we hope that the Home Secretary, who has commissioned this report, will look at the recommendations carefully and respond accordingly.

The report found several areas in which the police are currently failing women and girls. Two women a week are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales and from the high number of VAWG cases closed without charge, to major gaps in the data recorded on VAWG offences, we know that women and girls have been let down for too long.

Refuge supports the report’s recommendation for “an immediate and unequivocal commitment that the response to VAWG offences is an absolute priority for government, policing, the criminal justice system, and public-sector partnerships”, matched with the resourcing needed to achieve this recommendation.

This report also highlights a much-needed ‘whole system approach’ to violence against women and girls. Refuge knows that the police alone cannot challenge the misogyny which underpins, and is the root cause of, domestic abuse and violence against women and girls. Radical culture change is necessary if we are to see the progress necessary. Refuge also supports the reports recommendation for ring-fenced and long-term funding for community-based specialist support services for victims. Ensuring this dedicated funding is vital if we are to continue to prevent and support women experiencing domestic abuse and other forms of male violence.

Refuge stands ready to work with the government to ensure the report’s recommendations are actioned and implemented. Until that happens, we will continue to hold the government’s feet to the fire to ensure better protection for women and girls experiencing domestic abuse.’

Interviews available on request. Please contact the Press Office on 0207 395 7731 or email

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 support with tech abuse visit