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Refuge facilitates interviews between journalists and domestic violence survivors who are safe to speak out. Find out more

Press releases

Refuge announces Ranvir Singh and Saffron Hocking as new Ambassadors
Refuge announces Ranvir Singh and Saffron Hocking as new Ambassadors

Refuge, the country’s largest single provider of specialist domestic abuser services, is delighted to announce journalist Ranvir Singh and actress Saffron Hocking as Ambassadors. Both have played an important role in highlighting domestic abuse and violence against women and girls in their respective fields. Ranvir, a prominent journalist, has covered stories on domestic abuse throughout her career, and Saffron, an actress, is currently playing Lauryn, in Top Boy, a young female character who experiences abuse. Ensuring domestic abuse is covered sensitively and accurately both in reporting and in popular culture helps both dispel the myths surrounding it, as well as encourage women to seek help. In England and Wales, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime, and 2 women a week will be killed by a current or former partner. Refuge, who support many thousands of women and children every day, want to ensure that every woman in the country who needs specialist support, knows how to access it safely and quickly. Refuge runs a wide range of specialist services, providing emergency accommodation, culturally specific services, a range of community services and is the sole provider of the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, the gateway to support across the country. Working with ambassadors helps refuge to reach wider audiences and helps ensure no woman or child is turned away from accessing the support they need. Ranvir Singh said: “As a journalist I know how common domestic abuse is, and the devastating impact it has on women’s lives. Throughout my career I have seen how misogyny underpins so much violence against women and girls, and how pervasive domestic abuse is. Refuge’s work, ensuring all women and children can live a life free from abuse and fear is one that strikes a chord with me, it’s a hugely important cause and I’m grateful to be able to work with Refuge to raise awareness and create much-needed change for women and girls.” Saffron Hocking said: “When I received the script for the new series of Top Boy, I quickly discovered that my character was going to experience domestic abuse. I knew immediately that I’d need to do my research, to learn as much as I could about this issue, which would help me portray a survivor, and I wanted to get it right. Representing those real-life women who have experienced traumatic things like coercive-control, and economic abuse was so important to me, and it is a responsibility I take very seriously. Refuge helped me to understand the realities of domestic abuse and I’ve learnt so much and continue to learn more every day – sadly, this is a societal issue that needs continuous attention and support – it's not going away anytime soon” Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, Refuge Chair said: “I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Saffron and Ranvir to our team of Ambassadors, both of whom have been supporting us for some time, and who have a real commitment to ending domestic abuse. Our ambassadors are such a vital part of Refuge; they help us to raise the profile of our work significantly, using their platforms to make sure we are reaching as many women and children as possible. “Both Ranvir and Saffron are hugely successful in their own fields: Ranvir as a Good Morning Britain presenter, and Saffron who is staring in the series ‘Top Boy’. Saffron’s character experiences abuse and this led to Saffron looking at the realities of abuse and the trauma women face, she knew then that she had to do something to help. Ranvir has covered many stories of abuse over the course of her career, and she is absolutely committed to helping us reach more and more women and children who need us. “Refuge is incredibly grateful to Ranvir and Saffron for giving us their time, their expertise, and their passion. Together, we can do great things.” ENDS. For more information or to arrange an interview contact the press office on email press@refuge.org.uk  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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 refugetechsafety.org

Refuge responds to the publication of the draft Victims Bill
Refuge responds to the publication of the draft Victims Bill

In response to the publication of the draft Victims Bill, Refuge CEO Ruth Davison said: “The Victims Bill is an important piece of legislation which aims to put victim-survivors, back at the heart of the justice system, a move which Refuge welcomes. We are particularly pleased that the principles of the Victims Code will be enshrined in law, meaning survivors will now be provided with the necessary information to help them navigate and challenge the criminal justice system. However, there is still a long road ahead to making the criminal justice system work for survivors. Barriers are already high to reporting, with trust low in the police and criminal justice system, in no small part due to the lack of communication survivors often receive from these agencies and the lack of training for police and criminal justice system staff on working with survivors in a trauma-informed way. These changes need to be implemented swiftly to ensure survivors aren’t further traumatised by the process of coming forward about the abuse they’ve faced. It was disappointing to see our calls for a duty on relevant public authorities to commission community-based support services based on an assessment of needs excluded from the draft Bill. This is a missed opportunity to ensure all survivors of domestic abuse are able to access much-needed specialist support. Our Independent Domestic Violence Advisors do incredible work supporting abuse survivors through a challenging process. Refuge welcomes the statutory definition of and guidance on their roles as announced. This will ensure they, as well as ISVAs, are recognised and respected by other agencies. However, this definition must be flexible enough to recognise their varied roles, particularly within ‘by and for’ services supporting minoritised communities. We hope to see the Bill improve on the areas of concern to improve survivors’ experiences seeking justice and put the specialist community-based services that survivors so desperately need on a sustainable footing”. Ends Interviews available on request. Please contact the Press Office on 0207 395 7731 or email press@refuge.org.uk. Notes to Editors 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 real time automated guidance on how to secure your personal devices Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool. Visit Refuge’s Tech Safety Website at www.RefugeTechSafety.org for information on tech abuse and to find guidance on how to secure your personal and home devices. For real time automated support Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool.

Refuge comments ahead of Public Bill Committee for the Online Safety Bill
Refuge comments ahead of Public Bill Committee for the Online Safety Bill

Commenting on today’s Public Bill Committee for the Online Safety Bill, Ruth Davison, CEO of Refuge, said: "Today the Online Safety Bill is back before Parliament for scrutiny by the Bill Committee. This presents a huge opportunity for the Bill to be strengthened and for the Government to show it is serious about tackling online violence against women and girls. “For too long social media companies have not been held to account when abuse is perpetrated on their platforms, including domestic abuse, stalking, and online grooming of girls. “Last week a coalition of experts including Refuge published a violence against women and girls Code of Practice. If adopted, the code would mean that for the first time, social media companies would be regulated to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls perpetrated on their platforms. “Refuge is pleased to have the opportunity to give expert evidence today at the Bill Committee and hopes the Government will hear our calls and include the Code of Practice in the Bill as a priority.” Ends Interviews available on request. Please contact the Press Office on 0207 395 7731 or email press@refuge.org.uk. Notes to Editors To watch Jessica Eagelton (Policy and Public Affairs Manager at Refuge) give evidence at today’s Public Bill Committee violence against women and girls evidence session for the Online Safety Bill visit the parliament website. You can view the press release for the violence against women and girls Code of Practice on our website. For a copy of the code of practice please email florri_burton@refuge.org.uk 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 real time automated guidance on how to secure your personal devices Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool. Visit Refuge’s Tech Safety Website at www.RefugeTechSafety.org for information on tech abuse and to find guidance on how to secure your personal and home devices. For real time automated support Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool.

Refuge responds to BBC revelations that MI5 agent used secret status to terrorise girlfriend
Refuge responds to BBC revelations that MI5 agent used secret status to terrorise girlfriend

Responding to news that an MI5 agent used his status to perpetrate domestic abuse, Refuge CEO Ruth Davison said: ‘The news that an MI5 agent has used his status to perpetrate domestic abuse is abhorrent, and the fact that the identity of a man who has expressly stated his ‘murderous’ intentions, is being protected, is terrifying for women and girls. These revelations, uncovered by the BBC, should not be taken lightly. The abuse suffered by this man’s partner, and the way he appears to have terrified her from coming forward to report the abuse she experienced is something we see far too often at Refuge. Women are often told ‘no one will believe you’. Imagine these words being said to you by someone you understand works for the security services. Also reflective of women’s experiences is the lack of action by the police and the CPS. We know that convictions for abuse are at a woefully low rate., and that even when women do come forward, their testimony is questioned, their experiences doubted, and often they feel as though it is them who is on trial. For all these reasons, women are increasingly feeling the need to gather their own evidence. Even when they do, it is often doubted or not taken seriously. It is not the job of survivors to produce their own evidence when they come forward to report abuse. For too long, we have seen how powerful men have used their status as a tool to abuse, and we have seen how those whose work should see them protecting women and girls, and society at large, is instead used as a vehicle which allows them to abuse. This cannot be with impunity. Enough is enough. Last year, Refuge stood outside New Scotland Yard and highlighted how the Femicide census, which our sector colleagues produced, revealed that since 2019, 16 women who lost their lives to male violence were killed by a serving or former police officer. We have also seen the disturbing ‘spy cops’ revelations - women who were deceived and conned by police officers into having relationships with them without knowing who they really were and what their motivation was. And now we see a member of MI5, the country’s security service, using his position to cause harm to his partner. As the CEO of the country’s largest provider of specialist domestic abuse services, I am horrified not only by these revelations, but the message that the lack of action sends to women and girls about their ability to access justice’ ENDS Notes to editors: Interviews available on request, please contact the Refuge press team on 0207 395 7731 or email press@refuge.org.uk About Refuge: Refuge supports thousands of women and children on any given day, and runs the National Domestic Abuse Helplin.e, 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 real time automated guidance on how to secure your personal devices Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool. Visit Refuge’s Tech Safety Website at www.RefugeTechSafety.org for information on tech abuse and to find guidance on how to secure your personal and home devices. For real time automated support Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool.  

Coalition of experts announce new Code of Practice that would hold tech companies to account on online violence against women and girls
Coalition of experts announce new Code of Practice that would hold tech companies to account on online violence against women and girls

A coalition of experts including the End Violence Against Women Coalition, Glitch, Refuge, Carnegie UK, NSPCC, 5Rights and Professors Clare McGlynn and Lorna Woods have come together for the first time to create a ready-to-use set of guidelines, or ‘Code of Practice’ to tackle violence against women and girls online. If adopted, the code would mean that for the first time, social media companies would be regulated to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls perpetrated on their platforms, including domestic abuse, stalking, and online grooming of girls, and Ofcom would have the power to hold them to account. The coalition of experts call on the Government to amend the Online Safety Bill and introduce this Code of Practice, making tackling online violence against women and girls a priority. As it stands, the Bill - which is currently before Parliament and an attempt by the Government to regulate social media platforms - does not even mention women, misogyny, or violence against women and girls. If the Code of Practice was adopted, the UK would become the first country in the world to hold tech companies to account on tackling violence against women and girls. In practice, it would mean that companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok would be required to understand, address and respond to online violence against women and girls and put systems in place to help prevent perpetrators using their platforms to abuse, stalk, harass, monitor and control survivors. The scale of online violence against women and girls is vast. One in three UK women have experienced online abuse or harassment on social media or another online platform, rising to 62% of young women. Of these 1 in 3 women, 1 in 6 experienced this abuse from a partner or ex-partner. And data from 2017-2021 shows that 4 in 5 victims of online grooming offences are girls. Ruth Davison, CEO of Refuge, said: “Despite the sheer scale of online violence against women and girls, there is currently no legal obligation on big tech companies to do anything about it. Refuge supports women every day who have experienced horrifying online abuse, so it’s of huge concern to us. “Adopting this Code of Practice is a simple and effective way for the Government to strengthen the Online Safety Bill and provide assurances that they are serious about making the internet a safer place for women and girls. We hope they will take this opportunity.” Eva Okunbor, Acting CEO of Glitch, said: "Black women are 84% more likely to experience abuse than their white counterparts on some platforms. These guidelines for tech companies will hold them to account on making platforms safer for women and girls, particularly those who are most marginalised. “Without appropriate guidelines, there is no accountability for the endemic violence against women and girls in online spaces" Andrea Simon, Director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said: “The Government wants to make the internet safer for all, but it won’t be able to do this unless the Online Safety Bill meets the rights and needs of women and girls, including those who experience discrimination and inequality on the basis of their race, sexuality or disability. “We’ve shown that a VAWG Code of Practice can be comprehensive, robust and workable, and assert a clear expectation on tech companies as to how they should prevent and respond to violence against women and girls. “Including a code of practice in this area is a really important way the Government can have a hugely positive impact on women and girls’ experiences in online spaces.” Sir Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO, said: “Girls face very distinct and increased risks on social media, with more than four in five online grooming crimes targeting girls and 97% of child abuse material featuring the sexual abuse of girls. Yet despite the huge scale of avoidable harm girls are suffering online tech firms have done little to recognise the specific risks their sites cause to girls and take action to prevent it. “This code of practice should be adopted into the Online Safety Bill to further bolster its response to child protection and send a clear message from Government to tech firms that ending the tsunami of violence against women and girls online must be a priority.” Ends Notes to Editors For embargoed copies of the Code of Practice or the two-page summary please contact florri_burton@refuge.org.uk. A range of voices from Refuge, EVAW, and the NSPCC are available for broadcast, further comment and on background conversations. Please get in touch with florri_burton@refuge.org.uk Cecilia*, a survivor of tech abuse supported by Refuge, said: “One of the most devastating impacts of the tech abuse I experienced from my abusive ex-partner was being humiliated by him on social media. Even before I escaped him, my abuser was always posting things online. I never felt comfortable with how much he wanted to share. Then his abuse escalated and he began posting abusive messages about me on social media for all to see. He messaged everyone we knew with lies about me and even used community group chats and forums to tarnish my name. It was so humiliating. I lost friends and I lost my standing in the community. It affected my ability to provide a supportive, community environment for my child. Social media platforms make it very difficult to report this type of abuse and I had very little faith in them to actually do anything about the abuse I was experiencing. When you’re experiencing domestic abuse, the last thing you want to do is fill out a form with only an “ABC” of options for what’s going on. It’s more complicated than that and not something that an algorithm can just figure out. Social media platforms must provide more options for women like me and the government has an opportunity to ensure this happens. The government must also do more to raise awareness of how this type of abuse affects women, because I felt that there was a general lack of awareness within my community that what I was going through was actually tech abuse.” Prof Lorna Woods, Professor of Internet Law at Essex University said: "A systemic approach to online harm reduction - built on risk assessment and mitigation - is the best way to address online harms. While this approach, in part, underpins the Online Safety Bill, its principles need to be translated into practical codes, such as this VAWG code. The code is cross-cutting, demonstrating that design choices have many impacts in multiple content domains which do not neatly fall into the categories of content identified in the Bill. It will go a long way to providing a roadmap for the government and Ofcom to start to address the prevalence and impact of online VAWG." Sarah Davidson, Carnegie UK CEO, said: "We are delighted, along with our long-time expert collaborator, Professor Lorna Woods, to have played a part in the development of this Code, which builds on the work we have led previously in developing a code of practice for hate speech. Our approach is built on collaboration and convening - and the Code is testament to the effectiveness of that approach, bringing together academics, campaigners, VAWG charities and survivors, and tech platforms in its development. We look forward to continuing to work with this coalition, as well as policymakers and regulators, in making its adoption a reality." Refuge research has shown that more than one in three UK women (equivalent to 11 million women) have experienced online abuse or harassment on social media or another online platform, rising to a staggering 62% of young women. Of these 1 in 3 women, 1 in 6 experienced this abuse from a partner or ex-partner, meaning almost 2 million women have been abused in this way. Read the Unsocial Spaces report: https://www.refuge.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Unsocial-Spaces-for-web.pdf Victims in 84% of online grooming cases are girls https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/mar/28/victims-in-84-of-online-grooming-cases-are-girls Black women are 84% more likely to experience abuse than their white counterparts on some platforms https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/12/crowdsourced-twitter-study-reveals-shocking-scale-of-online-abuse-against-women/

Refuge calls on the Government to make access to cash a priority in Queen’s Speech
Refuge calls on the Government to make access to cash a priority in Queen’s Speech

Legislation to ensure access to cash is made easier should be brought forward in Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech says domestic abuse charity Refuge. This call follows data released by Which?, the consumer watchdog, which revealed that a quarter of free-to-use ATMs have vanished since 2018 and almost half of the UK’s bank branches have closed since 2015. Which? and other campaigners outline that the move towards a cashless society that privileges online banking leaves many vulnerable people behind. Refuge, the country's largest single provider of specialist domestic abuse services, highlights just how vital access to cash is. They outline that the closure of ATM’s and bank branches is ‘putting lives at risk’ as it heightens perpetrators ability monitor and control a survivor's access to and use of money. Being under this kind of financial surveillance severely impacts survivors' ability to flee domestic abuse. This kind of domestic abuse is widespread. Refuge’s ‘Know Economic Abuse’ report in 2020 found that 8.7 million people had experienced economic abuse, and 85% of people who experienced economic abuse also experienced other forms of domestic abuse including physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Refuge is backing calls on the Government made by Which? to finally deliver on its long overdue promise from 2020 to protect cash. Last week Which? outlined that another year of inaction after a pandemic that saw many small businesses cease to accept cash payments could risk an irreversible collapse of the country’s cash system. Which? believes that proposals put forward by the banking industry such as shared banking hubs could play a role, but they must be targeted and of sufficient scale to plug the gaps left by bank closures. They outline that current measures are voluntary and are therefore subject to change based on commercial decisions made by individual firms. At present, there is nothing to prevent banks withdrawing from these measures at any point. Ruth Davison, CEO of Refuge, said: “The move towards a cashless society is putting lives at risk. Refuge knows just how vital being able to put aside small amounts of cash can be for survivors of domestic abuse, helping them flee an abusive partner. “Economic abuse plays a huge part in a perpetrators ability to control and monitor their partner, so the move towards digital first banking and away from cash enables perpetrators to monitor the spending of their partners more closely. Worse still, time and again we have heard from many women that they don’t even have access to their own bank accounts, making cash even more vital. “The Government must honour its commitments on access to cash and bring forward legislation that would make accessing cash easier for survivors. It could be the difference between women fleeing an abusive partner or forcing them to stay.” Katie*, a survivor of domestic abuse supported by Refuge, said: “My ex-husband wiped out my bank account constantly on lavish purchases for himself, meaning that there was nothing left in there for myself or my son, nor bills. Budgeting was impossible as whenever money was available, he would spend it, and when that was done, he ran up large debts in my name. “Every so often when things got really bad with debts and bills, he would suddenly turn up with hundreds of pounds in bank notes to “save the day” which meant I was dependent on spending this cash for household essentials. “A cash safety net was really important when I tried to flee, he would track my spending so I couldn’t take lots of cash out of a machine in one go as he’d notice and be able to track the location of the cash point. I had to save little pockets of cash gradually over time so it wasn’t detected and was easier to hide from him, this gave me confidence to know I was able to support myself and my son. “As a survivor of economic abuse, the importance of cash was really noticeable after I left my abuser and was left with the long-term debt he’d racked up in my name. It took ten years to clear the tens of thousands of pounds of debt that I was left with. Debt plans were very intrusive as all my spending was monitored and every penny had to be accounted for. “Cash was really important at that time as all my spending on my online statements had to be explained, I kept a cash fund of savings that allowed me to have some control and existed as a rainy day fund, it was awful that I had to sneak out my own money so that it was not traceable by debt collectors but it was essential especially as a mother. “I never wanted my son to go without, so having cash for things like holidays or trips or even a new pair of shoes for him was really important. If I didn’t have that cash or wasn’t able to use it, I wouldn’t have been able to give my son that life in his early years nor have some confidence and independence over my own spending which had been controlled by my ex-husband and was now being controlled by debt collectors. It was a very traumatic time but having a safety net of cash was really important throughout that period.” Ends Notes to Editors *Katie is a pseudonym used to protect the survivor's identity. Economic abuse is a common form of domestic abuse. It involves an abuser restricting a person’s ability to acquire, use and maintain money or other economic resources. This could include refusing to let their partner open a bank account, controlling how they use their income, preventing them working or being in education or building up debt in their partner’s name. Power and control are central to all forms of domestic abuse, and economic abuse is no exception. Restricting a partner’s access to money, forcing them into debt, refusing to allow access to resources like a car or a mobile phone are all forms of control that reduces their partner’s ability to make their own choices and live autonomous lives. Economic abuse is commonly perpetrated alongside other forms of domestic abuse as part of a pattern of coercive control. 85% of people who experienced economic abuse also experienced other forms of domestic abuse including physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Read Refuge’s Know Economic Abuse 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 real time automated guidance on how to secure your personal devices Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool. Visit Refuge’s Tech Safety Website at www.RefugeTechSafety.org for information on tech abuse and to find guidance on how to secure your personal and home devices. For real time automated support Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool.

Refuge reacts to new BBC data on court delays for survivors of sexual assault
Refuge reacts to new BBC data on court delays for survivors of sexual assault

Tracy Blackwell, Director of Strategic Insights and Partnerships at Refuge, said: "This data underscores what we already know, and that is that survivors are so often denied access to justice or are let down by the system that is supposed to protect them. “Court cases taking longer means more women will drop out of criminal proceedings, compounding their trauma. Delays also put extra strain on the specialist services that support women through the justice system, which are already chronically underfunded. "To blame this crisis on the pandemic is completely disingenuous. Significant delays were already a major problem before covid hit. If the government is serious about tackling violence against women and girls, it needs to reverse the damage that funding cuts have done to our justice system and ensure that women have confidence to seek justice." Ends Notes to Editors Sexual offence victims face longest-ever court waits https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-61061365 Refuge’s response to the CPS Q3 performance stats on domestic abuse https://www.refuge.org.uk/refuge-cps-quarterly-performance-data-domestic-abuse/ 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 real time automated guidance on how to secure your personal devices Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool. Visit Refuge’s Tech Safety Website at www.RefugeTechSafety.org for information on tech abuse and to find guidance on how to secure your personal and home devices. For real time automated support Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool.

Refuge responds to new CPS Quarterly Performance Data on Domestic Abuse
Refuge responds to new CPS Quarterly Performance Data on Domestic Abuse

Tracy Blackwell, Director of Strategic Insights and Partnerships at Refuge, said: “A survivors' ability to access justice should be a basic right. “Yet the overall picture of referrals, charges and convictions of domestic abuse perpetrators is still woefully low, meaning that women are left in limbo and often fearful for their safety. “This sends a terrible message to victims who want to report the abuse they have suffered to the police. “The criminal justice system needs wholesale reform so that survivors can access the justice they deserve. Delays in charging decisions and to trials put survivors at risk, can compound trauma, and increase the chances of women dropping out of the criminal justice process.” -- Ends -- Notes to Editors Today the CPS has published the Q3 Performance data which covers the three-month period from 1 October to 31 December 2021. Below Refuge has compared this to any increase/decrease in Q1 and Q2 of this period 2021-22 Police referrals for domestic abuse offences to the CPS have increased on last quarter, continuing the upward trend so far in the period 2021-22. However, this must be put this into context by considering that in 2020-21, police referrals dropped by 26.5%. The proportion of suspects who are actually being charged for domestic abuse offences continues to drop for the second quarter in a row this period Furthermore, the number of completed prosecutions is down on last quarter continuing the downward trajectory so far in 2021-22. In the previous reporting period 2020-21, completed prosecutions dropped by 10.9% overall. The volume of convictions continues to decline, despite the very small increase in the conviction rate. In the previous two quarters, the conviction rate declined, and the increase in the conviction rate this Q is still below the conviction rate at the start of this reporting period (2021-22) Again, looking at the bigger picture, from 2020-21, convictions dropped by 10.4%. 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 real time automated guidance on how to secure your personal devices Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool. Visit Refuge’s Tech Safety Website at www.RefugeTechSafety.org for information on tech abuse and to find guidance on how to secure your personal and home devices. For real time automated support Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool.

Refuge launches campaign video on so-called 'revenge porn' and online domestic abuse with TV personality Georgia Harrison
Refuge launches campaign video on so-called 'revenge porn' and online domestic abuse with TV personality Georgia Harrison

Today, Tuesday 19 April 2022, as the Online Safety Bill appears before Parliament for its second reading, domestic abuse charity Refuge launches campaign video with TV personality and campaigner Georgia Harrison. In the video, Georgia outlines the scale of intimate image abuse. She also talks about the change she wants to see with social media companies bearing more of a responsibility to react quicker to reports of intimate image abuse and violence against women and girls. Ahead of the Bill's second reading, Refuge is calling on the Government to make violence against women and girls a priority in the Online Safety Bill, and to include better protections for women. As it stands, the Bill does little to protect women against online abuse. The Bill makes no mention of women and girls, misogyny or misogynistic content. This does not match up to the scale of the problem faced by women and girls online. If the Bill does not recognise the specific ways women and girls experience violence and abuse online, social media companies could continue to fail to take the problem seriously. Refuge calls on the Government to: Explicitly recognise online violence against women and girls on the face of the Bill, to ensure social media companies give due priority to all forms of violence against women and girls when carrying out their duties under the Bill Require Ofcom to develop a violence against women and girls code of practice as a matter of priority to set out clear expectations for companies when responding to and preventing online violence against women and girls, alongside codes on terrorism, fraudulent advertising and child sexual exploitation and abuse. This would improve the response to survivors and raise standards among regulated platforms. Commenting, Georgia Harrison, TV personality and campaigner, said: “Every day different women get in touch with me sharing their experience of online abuse. “Having your intimate images shared without your consent is one of the most terrifying and violating things that can happen to you. “Social media companies need to understand how scary it is, and they need to act faster to take images down.” Ellie Butt, Refuge’s Head of Policy and Public Affairs, said: "If the Government is serious about tackling violence against women and girls, it needs to put its words into action. “This Bill was a huge opportunity to take online abuse seriously, but the Government has failed to even mention women or misogyny once throughout the Bill. “Refuge urges the Government to reconsider and ensure that this Bill makes a real difference to survivors of online abuse.” Ends   Notes to Editors  You can watch the full video here: https://youtu.be/rvFTmu0Zdzg Georgia Harrison is a British born model and influencer, most notably known for appearing in reality TV shows: Series 3 of Love Island and The Only Way is Essex. She is a campaigner on intimate image abuse. Our research has shown that more than one in three UK women (equivalent to 11 million women) have experienced online abuse or harassment on social media or another online platform, rising to a staggering 62% of young women. Of these 1 in 3 women, 1 in 6 experienced this abuse from a partner or ex-partner, meaning almost 2 million women have been abused in this way. Read the Unsocial Spaces report: https://www.refuge.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Unsocial-Spaces-for-web.pdf 1 in 14 adults in England and Wales have been threatened with sharing an intimate image. 1 in 7 young women aged between 18 and 34 have experienced threats to share intimate images. The overwhelming majority (72%) of threats to share intimate images are made against women by current or ex partners. This clearly defines it as a domestic abuse issue and is why the Government must act now. Read the Naked Threat report : https://www.refuge.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/The-Naked-Threat-Report.pdf Interviews available on request.  Please contact the Press Office on 0207 395 7731 or email press@refuge.org.uk Georgia has created three videos with Refuge. Why she's campaigning on the Online Safety Bill Why the Online Safety Bill must make women's safety a priority My message to government 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 real time automated guidance on how to secure your personal devices Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool. Visit Refuge’s Tech Safety Website at www.RefugeTechSafety.org for information on tech abuse and to find guidance on how to secure your personal and home devices. For real time automated support Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool.

Refuge responds to Home Office announcement on new Domestic Abuse Plan
Refuge responds to Home Office announcement on new Domestic Abuse Plan

In response to the announcement by the Home Secretary, Refuge CEO Ruth Davison said: “Refuge welcomes the publication of the new Domestic Abuse Plan and is pleased to see the government looking at how it can build on the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 to improve the response to domestic abuse across the country, including by increasing funding to specialist services. “While the plan offers welcome steps forward, and provides cause for optimism, some of the announcements appear to reflect existing polices and unfortunately don't offer anything new. We hope the government will use this plan as the start of an ongoing conversation with the sector about how to ensure women and girls are able to access the protection they need and deserve. “Refuge is delighted to receive a welcome funding boost and thanks the Home Office for doubling its funding for our National Domestic Abuse Helpline, as well as investing in other specialist Helpline's. Refuge's Helpline is the gateway to specialist services across the country and both saves, and changes, women’s lives. The pandemic really did underscore the need for increased funding for specialist frontline services. Refuge’s Helpline saw a sharp increase in demand which, in real terms, means more women needing us than ever before. Demand remains significantly above pre pandemic levels. “During the first lockdown, for example, we saw an on average increase in calls and contacts logged by our Helpline of 61%. As this demand increased, and as so much of our lives were lived online during lockdown, Refuge needed to adapt, which we did swiftly. We introduced a live chat service, which meant that women who were trapped at home with their abusers, and weren’t able to call us, could talk to us digitally. We also launched a BSL service, ensuring our Helpline is accessible to women with additional hearing needs. This, together with the interpretation services available on our Helpline, takes us closer to operating a fully inclusive service, and means we can continue to innovate so that all women can access the support they need and deserve. “But there are some parts of the proposals that Refuge would like to see more detail of and further discussion with the sector to ensure they are as helpful as possible. “Refuge is pleased that dedicated funding for Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVAs) and Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVAS) has been announced. But this is sadly just scratching the surface of the funding shortfall. Domestic Abuse is estimated to cost society at least £66 billion each year, and a decade of austerity cuts has meant that frontline organisations are constantly facing a funding cliff edge. Funding must match need, and more investment is needed in community services, alongside the implementation of the legal duty to provide emergency accommodation. Only sustainable, long-term, ring-fenced funding will allow frontline services to plan, and ensure that no woman or child is turned away from accessing specialist services. “Refuge urges caution with the proposed development of a Domestic Abuse Register. As the largest single provider of specialist domestic abuse services, we know first-hand the very real challenges women face when coming forward to report abuse. This, together with shockingly low charging, prosecution and conviction rates means the reality of any form of register is has the potential to offer women false reassurances, and as responses vary across police forces, could be a postcode lottery. The onus must not be on women to ‘find out’ whether their partner has a history of abuse, but for the criminal justice response to be robust enough to ensure perpetrators are held to account. “Refuge looks forward to seeing the plan in full and working with the government to see how it can be further developed to match need and ensure the strongest possible response to domestic abuse.” ENDS Notes to Editors: Spokes person available on request. For more information contact press@refuge.org.uk. 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 refugetechsafety.org

Refuge responds to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism investigation into police perpetrators of domestic abuse
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.” ENDS 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 refugetechsafety.org

Refuge responds to the publication of the Online Safety Bill
Refuge responds to the publication of the Online Safety Bill

In response to the publication of the Online Safety Bill, Ruth Davison, Refuge CEO, said:  “Refuge has campaigned tirelessly to help shape this Bill which presented a much-needed and overdue opportunity to improve women and girls' safety online. Sadly, the Bill as it currently stands is a huge missed opportunity and our calls for VAWG (violence against women and girls) to be focussed at the heart of this Bill have not been heard, which is very disappointing.   Our Unsocial Spaces report published last year showed the scale of abuse being committed against women and girls online and how, for too long, online spaces have been unregulated and unsafe for women and girls, with online abuse continuing to go unchecked. This has a huge impact on the everyday lives of women and girls.   Our research has shown that more than one in three UK women (equivalent to 11 million women) have experienced online abuse or harassment on social media or another online platform, rising to a staggering 62% of young women.  As it stands, Refuge has little confidence that this Bill will offer the necessary protections for women and girls; despite our clear calls, with over 5,000 of Refuge supporters calling for VAWG to be specifically referenced and a dedicated VAWG code of practice to be introduced, this is still missing from the face of the bill.   The focus instead is on particular criminal offences, including the non-consensual sharing of intimate images or so called ‘revenge porn’, stalking and harassment. Whilst recognising the need to tackle these issues is welcome –these are already crimes covered in existing legislation, so this Bill has offered little in the way of new protections.  The criminalisation of cyberflashing in this Bill is welcome and we would like to thank the government for recognising this issue which disproportionately affects women and girls and congratulate our colleagues in the sector who campaigned to make this a reality. There is still a way to go and the new law must go further and be based on non-consent, rather than on the intention behind sending these images, which will be much harder to evidence, however this new law goes some way to ensure regulation online is bought up to speed with flashing laws offline and for that it must be commended.  As the only frontline organisation with a specialist tech abuse team, Refuge can offer valuable insights into the online harms experienced by women and girls, and we stand ready to work with the government to ensure this Bill is as bold and robust as it has the potential to be.”  Ends Notes to Editors Interviews available on request. Please contact the Press Office on 0207 395 7731 or email press@refuge.org.uk Refuge's campaign for violence against women and girls (VAWG) to be specifically referenced in the Bill and for a dedicated VAWG code of practice to be introduced can be found 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 real time automated guidance on how to secure your personal devices Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool. Visit Refuge’s Tech Safety Website at www.refugetechsafety.org for information on tech abuse and to find guidance on how to secure your personal and home devices. For real time automated support Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool.

Refuge responds to report from Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) into Met Police conduct
Refuge responds to report from Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) into Met Police conduct

Interviews available on request. Please contact the Press Office on 0207 395 7731 or email press@refuge.org.uk Refuge responds to damning new report from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) into Metropolitan Police conduct Ruth Davison, Refuge CEO said: “The behaviour outlined in this IOPC report is absolutely disgraceful, and illustrates why so few women trust the police to support them in dangerous situations. “Jokes about rape and domestic abuse are never funny. But not only have the Metropolitan Police again been found using horrific, misogynistic language, some officers appear to be bragging about committing domestic abuse themselves. "The Met is an institution that is supposed to uphold the law and protect women and girls from violence. It’s no wonder women do not feel confident to report crimes committed against them. “Strong action must be taken and the police must rid itself of its culture of violent misogyny. This isn’t just about a few rotten apples; Refuge has repeatedly called for reform and this report today shows just how deeply misogyny runs through society. It underscores the urgent need for misogyny to be added to our hate crimes The government has a real opportunity to make this life-saving change to the law via the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. We urge them to act - enough is enough." Ends Notes to Editors Notes The IOPC Report can be found 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 real time automated guidance on how to secure your personal devices Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool. Visit Refuge’s Tech Safety Website at www.refugetechsafety.org for information on tech abuse and to find guidance on how to secure your personal and home devices. For real time automated support Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool.

Refuge responds to High Court ruling that Met Police breached rights of organisers of Sarah Everard vigil
Refuge responds to High Court ruling that Met Police breached rights of organisers of Sarah Everard vigil

Interviews available on request. Please contact the Press Office on 0207 395 7731 or email press@refuge.org.uk Refuge responds to High Court ruling that the Met Police breached rights of organisers of Sarah Everard vigil Kim Manning-Cooper, Head of Communications at Refuge, said: “The vigil for Sarah Everard was a way for women to come together and express their horror at her murder at the hands of a serving police officer. "But instead of allowing women to mourn her death, the Met police opted to silence women’s voices, declare the vigil unlawful, and pressure the organisers to cancel it. This is alongside the heavy handed approach they deployed with the women who went ahead and gathered. "These actions were not only tone deaf, but as this ruling outlines, were an infringement upon women's basic human rights. The Met should think very carefully about its decision on whether to appeal this ruling, and the message that this would send to women and girls all over the country. "With women's trust in the police at an all time low, the candidates to replace Cressida Dick as Met Commissioner must acknowledge the mistakes made and start the urgent work to rebuild this trust. "The Met is an institution that is supposed to uphold the law and protect women and girls from violence and abuse, so it's no wonder some women do not feel confident to report crimes committed against them with the Met’s track record." Ends Notes to Editors 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 real time automated guidance on how to secure your personal devices Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool. Visit Refuge’s Tech Safety Website at www.refugetechsafety.org for information on tech abuse and to find guidance on how to secure your personal and home devices. For real time automated support Refuge also has a Tech Safety Tool.

Refuge calls on MPs to back the ‘Newlove Amendment’ to make misogyny a hate crime, after Government confirmed it would not back amendment
Refuge calls on MPs to back the ‘Newlove Amendment’ to make misogyny a hate crime, after Government confirmed it would not back amendment

Refuge calls on MPs to back the ‘Newlove Amendment’ to make misogyny a hate crime, after Government confirmed it would not back amendment: This critical vote comes after Home Secretary announced she would tell police that tackling Violence Against Women and Girl should be given as much priority as fighting terrorism, child sexual abuse and organised crime. Ruth Davison, Refuge CEO, says vote today provides 'opportunity to put in place a suite of policies and practices that will protect women and girls' Refuge, the country’s largest single provider of specialist domestic abuse services, is calling on MPs to vote in favour of the ‘Newlove Amendment’ to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill in Parliament today (Monday). This vote comes after the Home Secretary announced that the government would not be supporting the amendment. If the amendment passed, misogyny would be added to the existing hate crime laws, and it would mean that the motivation for a crime based on sex or gender is considered during sentencing in the same way that homophobic or racist motivation is taken into account. Refuge urges MPs of all parties to take a stand against violence against women and girls, and vote in favour of the amendment, arguing that it has the potential to transform how crimes against women and girls are dealt with. While Refuge welcomes the Home Secretary's earlier announcement that, in line with the recommendations in Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS report), she will be asking police to prioritise VAWG, but the charity argues the decision to reject the 'Newlove Amendment' is short sighted and that today's vote provides an opportunity to move towards a much needed whole systems approach to tackling VAWG. Refuge, alongside police chiefs, legal professors and violence against women and girls sector experts, believe that adding misogyny to our existing hate crime laws would have many benefits in the fight against violence against women and girls. These include increasing public awareness, improving survivors’ confidence in reporting, and enhancing the police response to violence against women by illustrating the prevalence and geographical breakdown of these crimes across the country. Ruth Davison, Refuge CEO, said: “Last week, the Home Secretary signalled that the government would not back the ‘Newlove Amendment’. But there’s still time for her to listen to experts and do the right thing and change her mind. "Over the weekend she announced that VAWG must be prioritised. Of course, this is a welcome move but tackling such a pervasive societal problem requires a whole system approach and change at every level. The refusal to accept the 'Newlove Amendment' is frustrating because we know that the only way to properly protect women and girls is for the government to recognise the seriousness of the crimes committed against them. There is a real opportunity to do that today. “This is why Refuge today urges all MPs to vote in favour of the amendment to make misogyny a hate crime and show the country that they are on the side of women and girls.” Notes to Editors: Over 9,000 Refuge supporters have written to their MPs urging them to support the amendment which would ensure crimes driven by misogyny are recorded by the police as hate crimes. Refuge and others wrote a letter to the editor of the Telegraph on Wednesday 23rd of February. It rebuts the Home Secretary's criticism of the amendment. The full text of the letter reads: The news that the Home Secretary will not support Baroness Newlove’s amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would ensure crimes driven by misogyny are recorded by the police as hate crimes, is deeply disappointing. As signatories, we disagree with the Home Secretary’s claim that adding misogyny to our existing hate crime laws would be merely ‘tokenistic’ and prove “more harmful than helpful”, as well as the claim that introducing this change to hate crime legislation would make it harder to prosecute sexual offences and domestic abuse. The Newlove amendment includes a proposal for a 'carve out’ for sexual offences and domestic abuse offences, which explicitly distinguishes between these offences and other forms of crime that may be motivated by misogyny, such as online abuse or street harassment. The use of ‘sex or gender’ follows the approach proposed by the Law Commission report on hate crime, ensuring that all crimes motivated by misogyny (or misandry) are captured by the new law, rather than leaving loopholes which could undermine the new system. We believe that the amendment has the potential to transform how crimes against women and girls are dealt with and would mean that the motivation for a crime based on sex or gender is treated in the same way as hostility towards other characteristics such as race or religion, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity. The benefits of recording crimes as misogyny are clear. In 2016, Nottinghamshire Police became the first police force in the country to record cases of abuse and harassment against women and girls as misogyny under their Misogyny Hate Crime Policy. There was a 25% increase in reporting of crimes motivated by misogyny following the introduction of the policy, which demonstrated improved public awareness of these crime types, and an increase in survivors’ confidence in reporting to the police. The success of this pilot underscores the need for change and we urge the Home Secretary to reconsider her position. We hope that MPs take a stand against violence against women and girls in this country and vote to support the Newlove amendment in the House of Commons on the 28th of February. ENDS. 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 refugetechsafety.org

Refuge responds to joint inspection of the police and CPS's response to rape
Refuge responds to joint inspection of the police and CPS's response to rape

Responding to the joint inspection of the police and CPS’s response to rape, led by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI), Ruth Davison, Refuge CEO said: “The report today from HMICFRS and HMCPSI again illustrates that survivors of rape are being routinely failed by the criminal justice system. This is the phase 2 report of the inspection, building on the findings from phase 1 which concluded the criminal justice system fails to put survivors at the heart of building strong cases when it comes to rape. Refuge welcomes this report and supports the inspectorates’ call for widespread reform, something Refuge and our colleagues across the Violence Against Women And Girls (VAWG) sector have long called for. Survivors tell us that they often feel they are the ones being investigated or standing trial. This must change, as must the trend that survivors are experiencing lengthy court delays, which compound and extend their trauma. That survivors are having to wait on average more than two years (706 days) for trials to start after reporting to the police is unsustainable and wrong. This is an unacceptably long wait for a survivor to access justice. Refuge is also concerned that survivors of rape are describing harrowing experiences in court and sharing that they feel they are not given a voice in the criminal justice process. Again, this adds to their trauma. Improvements must be made by both police and prosecutors when communicating with survivors to ensure they are supported and informed. A statutory requirement should be introduced for criminal justice professionals to take all reasonable steps to advise survivors on details and progress of criminal proceedings and to seek views on modifying or discontinuing charges. The government has committed to ensuring survivors are ‘better heard, served and protected’, and this report shows that those actions are desperately needed. There is an upcoming legislative opportunity with the Victims’ Bill to ensure survivors are better supported and that the criminal justice system is more trauma-informed. We urge the government to take this opportunity, and ensure these much-needed changes are backed up by including a duty in the Bill to commission community-based specialist support services with full, ringfenced funding. Specialist services such as Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVAs) and Independent Sexual Violence Advocates (ISVAs) have proven to be key in ensuring survivors feel supported within the justice system, we must ensure every survivor has access to this specialist support.” ENDS. 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 refugetechsafety.org

Refuge responds to Home Secretary view that misogyny will not be made a hate crime
Refuge responds to Home Secretary view that misogyny will not be made a hate crime

Responding to the Home Secretary's comments Ruth Davison, Refuge CEO said: ‘This is a disappointing but also deeply problematic position for the Home Office to take, and Refuge urges the Home Secretary, in the strongest possible terms, to reconsider. Crimes committed against women that are driven by misogyny, must be acknowledged as being hate crimes. In the same way that crimes motivated by racism, disablism, religious discrimination, homophobia or transphobia are. The proposition here is not for a new law to be created. This is a very simple and straightforward step; to extend existing hate crime legislation to cover offences motivated by hostility to the victim’s sex or gender. The Home Secretary has spoken repeatedly about her commitment to tackling violence against women and girls, so we are deeply disappointed that she does not consider crimes such as street and online harassment serious enough to be acknowledged as hate crimes. Over 9,000 Refuge supporters have written to their MPs urging them to support this amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would ensure crimes driven by misogyny are recorded by the police as hate crimes. This will increase public awareness, improve survivors’ confidence in reporting, and enhance the police response to violence against women by illustrating the prevalence and geographical breakdown of these crimes across the country. We hope that MPs will vote in favour of this amendment when it comes before the House of Commons next week, and we urge the Home Secretary to listen, reverse her position and show real leadership in tackling Violence Against Women as Girls. Never has it been more important.' NOTES The Home Secretary’s comments can be read here. ENDS. 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 refugetechsafety.org

Refuge responds to the resignation of Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick
Refuge responds to the resignation of Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick

Interviews available on request. Please contact the Press Office on 0207 395 7731 or email press@refuge.org.uk Refuge responds to the resignation of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick Ruth Davison, Refuge CEO said: "Cressida Dick presided over an institution that saw police officers displaying misogynistic behaviour and committing horrific acts of violence against women, time and time again. But one resignation at the top doesn't mean the police have solved their misogyny problem. The police service in this country needs root and branch reform - as Refuge has repeatedly called for. The Met is an institution that is supposed to uphold the law and protect women and girls from violence and abuse. It’s no wonder women do not feel confident to report crimes committed against them with the Met's track record. Strong action must be taken by the new Commissioner to rebuild this trust." Ends Notes to Editors 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 www.refugetechsafety.org.

Refuge launches celebrity video calling for misogyny to be made a hate crime.
Refuge launches celebrity video calling for misogyny to be made a hate crime.

Refuge launches celebrity video calling for misogyny to be made a hate crime. Famous faces including Olivia Colman, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Bronagh Waugh have united to call on the government to add misogyny to existing hate crime laws. The new video, launched by Refuge, the country’s largest single provider of specialist domestic abuse services, backs proposals to include misogyny (the hatred of, or contempt for, women) as a hate crime in an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. This would mean that the motivation for a crime based on sex or gender is considered during prosecution and sentencing in the same way that homophobic or racist motivation is taken into account. The ‘Newlove Amendment’ tabled by Conservative Peer Baroness Newlove has the potential to transform how crimes against women and girls are dealt with, and already has the support of the House of Lords and will soon be debated and voted upon in the House of Commons. Refuge is urging its supporters to contact their MP and urge them to support the amendment. The video released today highlights the way in which women are expected to change their behaviour and the everyday activities which women have to think about in a way that men don’t. The Independent Office for Police Conduct report this week has drawn into sharp focus the sheer scale of misogyny and the very urgent need to address it – within the Metropolitan Police but also within our wider society. Misogyny is at the root of so much violence against women. It’s only by acknowledging and addressing it head on that we can start to build a world where women can be safe. Ruth Davison, Refuge CEO said ‘So much violence against women and girls, including domestic abuse, is ultimately driven by misogyny. This week we’ve seen some truly horrific examples of misogyny in the police - who are supposed to be there to protect women and girls. Acceptance of systemic misogyny is why ‘locker room banter’ that tries to make jokes about domestic abuse has been tolerated for years within the Met Police force and in society more generally. It is why crimes against women are not treated as the serious crimes that they are – as reflected in woefully low prosecution rates and weak sentencing. Is it any surprise trust in law enforcement is so low? Refuge is grateful to everyone who has lent their time to this video, and we hope the government will listen to our very simple call - to add misogyny to the existing hate crime laws. This will not only give women and girls the same protections we give others who are targeted solely because of who they are, but will help identify trends, enable tougher sentences and help women feel more confident coming forward to report’. If tougher measures are taken to stamp out misogyny, women and girls will feel more empowered to report crimes committed against them for simply being a woman. Recognising misogyny as a hate crime has the power to reshape women’s lives, and our society, for the better. ENDS. 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 refugetechsafety.org

Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, hosts reception to mark 50 years of Refuge
Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, hosts reception to mark 50 years of Refuge

Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, hosts reception to mark 50 years of Refuge, the country's largest single provider of specialist domestic abuse services. Her Royal Highness asks guests to use Refuge's 50th anniversary 'As a milestone to galvanise and inspire us all towards a world where women and children can live in safety, free from fear, (and) you carry on your vital work to ensure the next 50 years will see the end of domestic abuse forever'. Domestic abuse has changed over last 50 years, says Charity's Chair, having formally been seen as only black eyes and broken bones, it is now also perpetrated via technology and economically. Now, abuse takes many different forms. Refuge says 43% of its service users reported financial abuse in 2021. Over the last 5 years, the number of women supported by Refuge who said their perpetrator was refusing to contribute to the household costs increased by 632%, and the number who said their perpetrator was refusing to pay child maintenance rose by 1123%. Two women a week in England and Wales are killed by their current or former partner. Today, Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, hosted Refuge, the country's largest single provider of specialist domestic abuse services, at Clarence House, for a special event to mark the charity's 50th year. Guests gathering at Clarence House included Home Secretary Priti Patel, Baroness Helena Kennedy, together with Zara McDermott, and Erica Osakwe. Earlier in the day, The Duchess had met with women who have recently fled their abusive partners, at an emergency accommodation refuge. This was a chance for Her Royal Highness to hear directly from survivors of domestic abuse about the experiences they had, before being able to flee. Her Royal Highness also met with survivor Erica Osakwe, who recently campaigned with Refuge to change the law, by extending the time period survivors of domestic abuse had to report common assault. Osakwe was recently recognised by Marie-Claire magazine as a 'future shaper' for her work campaigning for women and girls. In her speech today, Her Royal Highness said: 'This morning I visited the first refuge in Chiswick. It was abundantly clear that it remains a beacon of hope and healing for its inhabitants. I heard encouraging stories of the immediate, practical differences that survivors have seen from recent changes in the law and from the determination and bravery of everyone who is fighting to protect those living with abuse'. Her Royal Highness continued: Today, then, we do not celebrate your fiftieth anniversary. Let us, rather, use it as a milestone to galvanise and inspire us all towards a world where women and children can live in safety, free from fear, (and) you carry on your vital work to ensure the next 50 years will see the end of domestic abuse forever'. Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, Refuge Chair said: 'Refuge is enormously grateful to Her Royal Highness for hosting us today. Her Highness has a long history of lending her support to organisations who provide frontline services to women and children experiencing domestic abuse. Today was an occasion that many will savour. Her Royal Highness met not only with Refuge staff, but also our colleagues across the sector, as well as survivors of abuse who so bravely speak out about their experiences so they can help others. When the first refuge opened in 1971, domestic abuse was thought of as being largely about black eyes and broken bones. Now, it is much wider, and can include abuse via technology as well as economic abuse. These statistics show the sheer scale of economic abuse, with almost half the women Refuge supported in 2021 experiencing this form of abuse.' Erica Osakwe, said: 'I'm a woman, who experienced abuse. But I stand here not as a victim, but as a survivor. I also stand here as someone who has changed the law. I am so grateful to the government for listening, and hearing, survivors like me, and making this change. And to the many people here today that made sure that happened. Thank you. I want to send a message of hope to everyone today: when we work together, we can achieve amazing things. Every person in this room, you have a role to play, and I hope you will look at me and be inspired to do whatever it takes to protect women and girls. Women like me.' Refuge embarks upon its fiftieth year at a time when the need for domestic abuse services is as important as ever, with data from Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline showing the rise in women needing support during the pandemic. Between April 2020 and February 2021 calls and contacts* logged on Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline (NDAH) increased by an average of 61% compared to January - March 2020. *Calls and contacts logged does not equal demand. One woman may access our services multiple times. We log all interactions on phone and allied Helpline services.   ENDS. 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 refugetechsafety.org

Refuge responds to Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee report on the draft Online Safety Bill
Refuge responds to Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee report on the draft Online Safety Bill

In response to the release of the report, Jessica Eagelton, Refuge Senior Policy and Public Affairs Officer, said: 'Refuge is grateful to the DCMS Committee for the release of their timely report, and for the opportunity to feed into it, by giving expert evidence, along with other Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) organisations. Last year, Refuge launched its 'Unsocial Spaces' campaign, which calls for robust regulation of social media to better protect women and girls from online abuse and harassment. Refuge is pleased that the DCMS Committee has heard, and listened to, our concerns that the draft Online Safety Bill in its current form will fail to address many forms of online VAWG. The draft Bill makes no references to women or VAWG, yet our research has shown that more than one in three UK women (equivalent to 11 million women) have experienced online abuse on social media or another online platform rising to a staggering 62% of young women. These figures should be a wakeup call to government and tech companies and serve as a stark reminder that much more must be done to safeguard women and girls online. That is why Refuge is particularly pleased that the DCMS Committee has concluded in its report today that some types of VAWG should be in scope of the Bill as ‘harmful content,’ or criminalised, and that a dedicated VAWG code of practice could help improve the response of social media companies to online VAWG. Refuge urges the government to take this recommendation on board. The Online Safety Bill will soon come before Parliament for its first reading. Refuge hopes the government will note the Committee's findings, and ensure the Bill presented to Parliament includes explicit references to protecting women and girls from online violence and abuse. Refuge stands ready to work with the government, as the country's largest single provider of specialist domestic abuse services, and the only frontline organisation with a specialist tech abuse team, to ensure the Bill is as strong and robust as possible for women and girls.' ENDS. For more information or to arrange an interview contact the press office on email press@refuge.org.uk  Read Refuge's Unsocial Spaces report here. About Refuge: 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 refugetechsafety.org.

Refuge responds to Common Assault time limit extension
Refuge responds to Common Assault time limit extension

Ruth Davison. Refuge CEO said: ‘This is a huge win and a victory for women and girls experiencing domestic abuse. Refuge is delighted that the government has listened to, and heard, our campaign with Women’s Aid Federation of England and the Centre for Women’s Justice, as well as the voices of the brave survivors, like Erica Osakwe, who have spoken out about their experiences and helped achieve change. Too many women have been ‘timed out’ of accessing justice, with the arbitrary 6-month time limit. It can take many months, even years, for survivors of abuse to feel ready and able to report their experiences. This change means thousands of women will have access to justice that they had previously been denied. Refuge is grateful to Yvette Cooper MP, Baroness Newlove and all our supporters who have taken action, and applauds the government for taking this vital step to help protect women and girls experiencing domestic abuse’. ENDS. For more information or to arrange an interview contact the press office on email press@refuge.org.uk  About Refuge: 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 refugetechsafety.org.

Refuge responds to Met Police DA arrests during 16 Days of Activism
Refuge responds to Met Police DA arrests during 16 Days of Activism

Ruth Davison. Refuge CEO said: 'During 16 days of activism the Metropolitan Police made more than 1500 domestic abuse related arrests. This shows the sheer number of women who are experiencing abuse and the need for the police to act swiftly and with rigour.. We also know that these arrest numbers only scratch the surface as the vast majority of women will never report to the police. But while we are pleased that these victims of crime saw action being taken, what this shows is that, in line with what Refuge has long been calling for, Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) must be prioritised by the police all year round - not just during 16 days of activism and when the spotlight is on them to act. VAWG doesn't just happen during the periods the Met takes it seriously; it happens every day and we need to see action taken against perpetrators and in support of survivors 365 days of the year. VAWG doesn't come by appointment and neither should the response to it. This is no more the case than for black and minoritised women and migrant women who face yet higher barriers to accessing justice and protection. If the Met are serious about protecting all victims of VAWG and bringing perpetrators to justice, then they should immediately stop sharing survivors' data with immigration enforcement and commit to training on black and minoritised women's experiences and how to effectively protect these women. Women deserve more than a gimmick or to be given support by calendar invite - they must be protected every day, not just when the spotlight is on the police to do better.' ENDS. For more information or to arrange an interview contact the press office on email press@refuge.org.uk  About Refuge: 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 refugetechsafety.org.

Refuge responds to the report of the Joint Committee on the Draft Online Safety Bill
Refuge responds to the report of the Joint Committee on the Draft Online Safety Bill

In response to the report of the Joint Committee on the Draft Online Safety Bill, Ruth Davison, Refuge CEO said: “The Online Safety Bill offers a welcome opportunity to improve the safety of women and girls online and introduce much needed legislation in a currently underregulated landscape. Whilst this report from the Joint Committee scrutinising the draft Bill shows initial promise, recognising the huge prevalence of online violence against women and girls (VAWG) and domestic abuse perpetuated online, Refuge is disappointed our call for VAWG to be at the centre of the Bill hasn’t fully been reflected. Refuge urges the government to prioritise and explicitly include VAWG on the face of the Bill when it brings the legislation before parliament next year, to compel platforms to protect women and girls. Refuge have campaigned alongside others across the women's sector for this Bill to be transformative in addressing online VAWG and echo the committee’s findings that ‘self-regulation of online services has failed’. Our recently published Unsocial Spaces report shows the need for online regulation and how women are continually failed by the lack of existing protections on social media. Refuge research shows that more than one in three UK women (36%) have experienced online abuse on social media or another online platform, equivalent to 11 million women across the UK. One in six of these women experienced this abuse from a partner or ex-partner, equivalent to almost 2 million women in the UK. Online abuse is twice as common amongst young women with almost 2 in 3 experiencing some form of online abuse so we know this is a growing problem and one which needs swift and robust action to address. Whilst we are pleased that this report has reflected our research, we can only conclude that the report does not go far enough. Refuge urges the government to go further to protect women and girls when making changes to the Bill, including introducing a requirement for a code of practice on VAWG to directly tackle this issue with rigour. Refuge is pleased to see one of our recommendations – the introduction of an appeals process for users – included in this report, and we hope that the proposed online safety ombudsman will provide survivors with further options for support when they have exhausted platform reporting processes. We also support the Law Commission’s recommendations to reform the law governing harmful online communications by criminalising cyberflashing and introducing a new harm-based offence. This report does make steps in the right direction in highlighting some of the many issues women experience online, but we hope the government will be bold and centre VAWG in the Bill to ensure women and girls do not get left unprotected amidst the rise of misogyny online. Refuge stands ready to work with the government to ensure this Bill protects women and girls from online harm and abuse.” ENDS. For more information or to arrange an interview contact the press office on email press@refuge.org.uk  About Refuge: 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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 refugetechsafety.org

Refuge responds to Victims Bill Consultation
Refuge responds to Victims Bill Consultation

Responding to the launch of the Victims Bill Consultation, Refuge CEO Ruth Davison said: 'Refuge welcomes the publication of this important consultation and the ambition expressed by the government to improve outcomes for victims of crime and committing to ensuring that they will be 'better heard, served and protected. However, the ambition of doing better for victims and ensuring that none feel unsupported must be matched with action. Specialist services must form the cornerstone of a victim-centred, trauma-informed response to violence against women and girls. Refuge is disappointed that the commitment to ensuring vital community-based services can operate on a more stable footing by introducing a legal duty to provide these services is missing from today’s announcement and is not specifically consulted on. Ensuring these services are able to fulfil their potential and are adequately funded is fundamental to ensuring support for victims and will also ensure that victim attrition decreases, and criminal justice outcomes improve. This is a worrying omission. Refuge also knows just how traumatic the criminal justice system can be for women experiencing domestic abuse. Making changes which support women and help them remain within the system is key to ensuring they can access justice and abusers are held to account. The ambition to increase the instances in which pre-recorded evidence can be presented to courts is a welcome step forward to achieving the goal of making the process less traumatic to survivors. But all these outcomes can only really deliver better protection for victims if the funding is there to meet need. While the Spending Review commitment of £185 million is of course welcome, this should be spent broadly across a range of specialist services, to ensure women and girls can access the support that is most beneficial to them. Refuge is concerned about the narrow focus on IDVA and ISVA provision because we know that survivors rely on a wider range of support, including outreach and Helpline support. It is therefore critical that the full range of services survivors rely on are provided, and delivered by, specialists. This includes the proposed 24/7 sexual violence Helpline which must be run by VAWG experts able to provide the level of support women need and deserve.' ENDS. For more information or to arrange an interview contact the press office on email press@refuge.org.uk  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 www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk 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 refugetechsafety.org