Refuge announces resignation from the Chartered Institute of Fundraising.


CEO Ruth Davison resigns her fellowship of the Institute and Refuge resigns as an organisational member.

Ruth Davison, Refuge CEO said:

‘It is with enormous sadness that I have today resigned as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, as well as formally notifying the Chief Executive that Refuge is resigning as an organisational member. Both decisions are effective immediately and supported unanimously by Refuges fundraising leadership team as well as our Chair of Trustees.

As an organisation which addresses domestic abuse and Violence Against Women and Girls, it is entirely incompatible with our values to remain members of an Institute who are not taking action to ensure it keeps women safe.

Over the last 18 months, Refuge has declined all invitations to speak at the Institutes events. I remained a Fellow, hoping to be able to continue to work with others to address both the serious concerns I had about the Institute’s culture; as well as the handling of complaints they received last year. I have found this to be fruitless as – even under new leadership – there appears to be no organisational desire to meaningfully change.

Last year, serious allegations were made by women who had experienced and witnessed sexual assault and harassment inside the Institute.
These complaints were appallingly mishandled, with complainants being gaslit, ignored and further harmed. Their personal wellbeing and professional development have both been impacted.. Refuge stands in solidarity with the women who have been failed by the Institute. We are also particularly sad to see the Institute failing to make its training and development offers available on an inclusive basis that could allow a far wider and more diverse group of fundraisers, as well as those who no longer feel safe to attend events in person, to benefit from training and development.

Fundraising is a profession full of young women who deserve to be safe at events and not to have their access to training and development limited or compromised by an organisation which refuses to take their needs seriously. By being unable to offer adequate assurances that it is trying to change, I am left with no choice but to resign my Fellowship. I am proud that my talented Fundraising Department has also chosen to resign our organisational membership. Sadly, the Institutes values have moved too far from values that Refuge and I work to uphold within our profession.

Refuge will continue to collaborate with other platforms to share our own fundraising successes, failures and learnings across the sector. ‘


Notes to editors:

Interviews available on request, please contact the Refuge press team on 0207 395 7731 or email

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 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 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.