Refuge responds to research that shows most Brits feel unequipped to support those experiencing domestic violence

UntitledNew research released today (Thursday 27 August) by Citizen’s Advice shows that most people in Britain do not feel equipped to support someone who is experiencing domestic violence, despite almost one in three knowing a victim. In response to these findings, national domestic violence charity Refuge calls for more education around domestic violence and highlights the positive steps people can take to support their friends and family.


Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of Refuge, says: “Domestic violence is one of the most pervasive issues affecting society today; a crime which claims the lives of two women every week in England and Wales. The statistics are huge, yet the subject remains a silent taboo. Many people still do not know how to recognise abuse, nor what to do if a friend needs support. Too many people still believe that domestic violence is a private matter, to be dealt with behind closed doors.

The findings from Citizen’s Advice reinforce statistics that Refuge has been sharing for many years*. Sadly, they show little has changed and much more needs to be done to educate the public about the reality of domestic violence. Refuge is calling upon the Government to run more public campaigns that raise awareness of domestic violence, which is a serious crime. Refuge also believes that the State has a duty to educate young people and we are calling for domestic violence to be taught as a mandatory part of PSHE in schools. Only then will young people be equipped to identify and call out abuse.

If you are concerned about a friend or family member – remember, you can make a difference. Find out about the signs of abuse. If you are planning to talk to a friend, organise to meet them at a time that is safe for them, away from their partner. Above all, listen to your friend, believe them and let them know that they are not to blame for what is happening. Encourage them to visit – and visit for more information on how to support them.

If someone you know is in immediate danger, call 999. If you see a violent incident, even if this involves someone you know, do not get involved physically but call the police.

Friends and family members really can make a positive difference – we hope that today many more people will access vital information. Together we can save lives.”


* In 2008, Refuge launched its Warning Signs campaign.