News | Press Release

24 November 2023

Refuge responds to ONS domestic abuse data

Responding to the Office for National Statistics data into domestic abuse in England and Wales, in the year ending March 2023, Ellen Miller, Interim CEO at Refuge said:

“The ONS data released today shows that domestic abuse is still the biggest social issue impacting women with an estimated 1.4 million women experiencing this crime in the last year. Our National Domestic Abuse Helpline was contacted 171,490 times in the year ending March 2023; and our staff work round the clock, 24/7, 7 days a week to support survivors facing domestic abuse. Many of the women we support face multiple barriers to accessing services and have nowhere else to turn. The data shows that demand for our Helpline remains incredibly high, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

It’s vital that we take seriously the very real threat that domestic abuse continues to pose to women throughout the country and recognise it as the serious crime that it is. The bleak fact remains that on average 2 women per week are killed by a current or former partner and 1 in 4 women will be impacted by domestic abuse in their lifetimes.

The ONS data shows that there is still a huge misunderstanding about domestic abuse, with 17.5% of victim/survivors reporting that domestic abuse is “just something that happens” we need to improve understanding about this crime, move beyond this narrative that normalises violence against women and girls and increase awareness and funding of the vital support services that are available.

Supporters generously helped us through the unpreceded surge in demand during the pandemic, but we know the cost-of-living crisis has meant some have been unable to financially support us over the past year. Every 2 minutes someone turns to Refuge for support, and we are still seeing incredibly high demand. Refuge’s services are a lifeline for thousands of women seeking safety during some of the darkest moments of their lives. We urge those that can to support our Christmas appeal at”


Notes to editors: 
ONS data sets ‘Domestic abuse and the criminal justice system, England and Wales: November 2023’ can be viewed on this website.