- Commissioner launches ambitious national mapping survey aimed at 2.3m domestic abuse victims across England & Wales
- Comprehensive survey of all victims is first step in ending the ‘postcode lottery’ of services
- Commissioner will use her legal powers laid out in the Domestic Abuse Act to tackle inconsistencies
- Survey for anyone aged over 16 who used or thought about using domestic abuse services in the last three years
The Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales has vowed to end the “shocking” ‘postcode lottery’ of domestic abuse services in England and Wales.
As a first step Nicole Jacobs is launching a comprehensive survey which is aimed at all domestic abuse survivors who have used or thought about using domestic abuse services in the last three years.
Every year around 2.3m people experience domestic abuse. On average two women on average are killed every week in by a current or former partner.
Ms Jacobs said: “We know from reviews following domestic abuse related homicides that key failings are the lack of understanding about domestic abuse in services and wider society which leads to victims not getting or being signposted to the support they need.
“We also know that the specialist services for domestic abuse are often under strain and are underfunded.
“All victims across England and Wales deserve equal access to the services that they need to keep them safe – and to help bring perpetrators to justice,” she added.
Recent research commissioned by our office from the LGBT+ anti-abuse charity Galop found there were only 3.5 full time specialist frontline domestic abuse support workers for LGBT+ victims in England and Wales, further highlighting regional imbalances in service provision.
The report also found that there were no funded LGBT+ ‘by and for’ domestic abuse services across the southwest, northeast of England and Wales. ‘By and for’ services are those provided by and for the community they serve.
The Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s national mapping work has so far found only two organisations that are ‘by and for’ disabled victims, and another two organisations that are ‘by and for’ Deaf victims. This means there could be swathes of the country where victims are not receiving the support they need.
The national mapping work will also seek to identify the availability of organisations that provide ‘by and for’ support to Black and minoritised victims and will flag areas of the country where this is not available.
A 2016 report from Imkaan reported that in the space of a year, 50% of Black and minoritised women’s specialist refuges were forced to close or were taken over by a larger provider due to lack of funding over the last decade, while others continue to operate without any local government support.
Launching today, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s survey is seeking to reach as many survivors as possible to understand their experiences of trying to get help and support from their local domestic abuse services.
The Commissioner wants to hear from people who have experienced any kind of domestic abuse which can include but is not limited to, the following: coercive control (a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence); psychological and/or emotional abuse; physical or sexual abuse; financial or economic abuse; harassment and stalking; online or digital abuse.
This national mapping exercise forms a key tranche of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s role and duties, as laid out in statute in the Domestic Abuse Act, which was granted Royal Assent earlier this year.
Earlier work involved surveying domestic abuse service providers over the summer to find out what services are being offered, to whom and where those services are located.
It is essential that all domestic abuse services are mapped in each area so that the Commissioner can identify gaps in provision and make recommendations for improvements.
In a bid to reach as many survivors as possible and to be truly representative, the confidential survey is available in 14 languages: English, Welsh, Polish, Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Arabic, French, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, British Sign Language and in Easy Read. A Romani version will also be available at a later date.
Ms Jacobs said: “Our ambition now is it to create the most far reaching and geographically comprehensive survey for domestic abuse victims and survivors.”
“We need to hear from people in every part of England and Wales, including those victims who have tried and failed to access services. These could include helplines, community-based services (such as domestic abuse caseworkers), or accommodation (such as refuges).
“Armed with this information, I will use my legal powers through the Domestic Abuse Act to press national and local Government to end the postcode lottery once and for all,” she added.
The Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s office is keen to hear from victims and survivors of all backgrounds, including women, men, those from black and minoritised communities, Deaf and disabled persons, those aged 16-25 and over 55, migrant victims, LGBT+ victims.
The survey will be available online until February 14th, 2022.
The survey is available here.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse and are in danger, please call 999.
If you need, support please contact the national helpline for England on 0808 2000 247. Live Fear Free Helpline for Wales 0808 80 10 800; Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327; National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline 0300 999 5428. A fuller list is available on the DAC website.
For more information, please contact or to arrange an interview with the Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Nicole Jacobs, please contact: press
Notes to Editors:
- Details of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s legal powers can be found here
- Here is the full version of the Galop report about specialist provision for LGBT+ survivors of domestic abuse (domesticabusecommissioner.uk)
- Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to, the following: coercive control (a pattern of intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence); psychological and/or emotional abuse; physical or sexual abuse; financial or economic abuse; harassment and stalking; online or digital abuse
- ‘By and for’ services mean services that are run by the community that they are designed for.