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Women’s Aid survey released

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women's aid survey 2014Findings depict, once again, a concerning picture of continued demand for domestic violence services.

Women’s Aid conducts a survey of its national network of services each year in order to ascertain the use of domestic violence services in England.

Since 2006 Women’s Aid has also undertaken a Residents’ Survey, to provide socio-demographic information about a sample of women residents inside refuge services on one day.

These surveys provide Women’s Aid with information about the services provided, and the number of women and children supported by Women’s Aid national network.

They also give a more detailed snapshot about those using domestic violence services on a specific day.

The Women’s Aid Annual Survey of domestic violence services across England is the largest collection of such data in the country, so the information it provides about domestic violence services, the thousands of women and children they support and the challenges they face every year is invaluable for Women’s Aid, the sector and decision-makers.

The key findings from the Annual Survey 2014 have now been released and have been presented in 3 infographics and an accompanying report.

These findings depict, once again, a concerning picture of continued demand for domestic violence services, along with increased pressure being put on services because of funding cuts and commissioning processes.

The key findings showed that, over the past financial year (2103/14):

Nearly a third (31 per cent) of referrals to refuges in 2013/14 were turned away because of a lack of space;

37 per cent of respondents were running services without dedicated funding. Data was provided by 132 services. Of these respondents (n=49), 65 per cent (32), were running services on reserves and 24 per cent (12) were running services on a voluntary basis.

13 per cent of respondents had suspended/closed an area of service due to lack of funding;

42 per cent of the responding specialist children and young people’s services reported having difficulties in placing children living in refuge in schools according to data provided by 90 services, and 44 per cent of responding services reported encountering problems in accessing mental health services for children and young people according to data provided by 90 services.

74 per cent of the women accommodated came from a different local authority area to the refuge;

Women’s Aid received responses from 110 refuge services about the number of women and children supported in refuge accommodation: these services supported 6,163 women and 6,665 children in 2013/14.

Responses from 109 services about the number of women and children supported in non-refuge services in the community showed that these services supported 74,500 women and 13,701 children in 2013/14.

According to data provided by 140 refuges, on just one day in 2014 112 women and their 84 children were turned away from a refuge because they could not be accommodated.

Data provided by 87 services showed that in just one week in 2014 369 women were turned away from outreach services in the community because of a lack of capacity.

This survey clearly shows the constant demand for domestic violence services, so the lack of sustainable funding to the domestic violence sector is extremely concerning – and the cost of this lack is being met by women and children.

The survey also shows the commitment and dedication of those who work in domestic violence services throughout the country as they continue to run services, sometimes without any dedicated funding, so that women and children can access the much-needed support and protection they offer.

But above all the figures show there are women and children who are not able to access the support they need, and they will be in danger of further violence – and that some risk being killed.

To download the Women’s Aid Annual Survey 2014 Briefing click here.

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