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Date published: July 27, 2021

New support for survivors of domestic abuse

In 2017 we launched our Shared Lives domestic abuse pilot, in partnership with national domestic abuse charity SafeLives, funded by Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s Tampon Tax. In the pilot, schemes supported disabled and non-disabled women who had experienced domestic abuse to stay with a Shared Lives host, as an alternative to, or as move-on from refuge. The pilot work left us with a legacy of training, practice guidance and inclusive resources, to support survivors of domestic abuse with a wide spectrum of support needs.

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An opportunity for local authorities to support people with unmet needs and fulfil the Domestic Abuse Act 2020

The new Domestic Abuse Act places a statutory duty on tier one local authorities to support victims of domestic abuse and their children residing within refuges and other safe accommodation. Local authorities are now preparing to deliver the new Act locally and specify how they will source appropriate safe accommodation in their area, including options options for people for whom refuge services are not suitable.

The need

A potential minimum of 15.5% survivors referred to refuges could benefit from Shared Lives supporting disabled and non-disabled survivors of domestic abuse[2]:

  • people with physical or learning disabilities or complex needs
  • mental ill health, including drug and alcohol addiction
  • young survivors, care leavers, or survivors with children
  • older victims concerned about their abuser, or those with support needs
  • People who aren’t able to access refuge for their safety and safety of others.

[2] Women’s Aid (2021) The Domestic Abuse Report 2021: The Annual Audit, Bristol: Women’s Aid.

We want to work with local authority domestic abuse partnership boards and Shared Lives schemes to offer victims who may not otherwise be supported, safe accommodation and work with partners to offer specialist support.

Read more about Shared Lives schemes’ domestic abuse work

Below is our briefing for heads of service and commissioners, and our pilot report.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse and you would like help, you can Freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
or visit (access live chat Mon-Fri 3-10pm)