Press Release

18 March 2022

Refuge responds to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism investigation into police perpetrators of domestic abuse

Ruth Davison, Refuge Chief Executive Officer, said:

“This investigation by the BiJ shows the scale of the problem within the police force to tackle domestic abuse and safeguard women and girls. It’s likely this data only scratches the surface of how widespread this issue is.

“We know that only around a fifth of women experiencing domestic abuse ever report to the police, due to the many barriers preventing them from doing so. So, for women whose abusers are police officers – this number is likely to be far lower. How can women feel safe to report these heinous crimes when those that are supposed to be investigating them are abusers or their peers?

“Earlier this year Refuge called for misogyny to be made a hate crime in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, but the government refused to take this opportunity to change the law. Time and again we have heard about a toxic misogynist culture that is rife within the police and how officers are closing ranks instead of protecting women and girls.

“With trust in the police at an all-time low, urgent action is needed. This is a nationwide problem and the whole police service needs radical root and branch reform to rid itself of this culture of misogyny.”


Notes to Editors:

More than 1,300 officers and staff have been reported for alleged domestic abuse since 2018, out of these only 36 have been dismissed from the force. Read the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s report here.

About Refuge:

Refuge supports thousands of 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