#16days represents 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. It runs from 25 November – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls – and is a time for individuals and organisations across the globe to come together and share stories, support survivors and call for change.

We know that there is no quick fix to end domestic abuse. It's everyone's business and it will take all of us, as individuals and agencies, to make it stop. This 16 Days, we're focussing on one crucial piece of the puzzle – the Health response to domestic abuse.

A Cry for Health: domestic abuse support in hospitals

Last year we published our report, Cry for Health, which showed the impact of having dedicated domestic abuse support located in a hospital, in the form of an Idva (independent domestic violence advisor). The research found that, when there is specialist domestic abuse support in a hospital:

  • We can help the most vulnerable victims: Those identified in hospital were more likely to disclose mental health difficulties and substance misuse. They were also more likely to be pregnant – and we know that domestic abuse is now the number one cause of foetal death in the UK.
  • We can intervene earlier and prevent missed opportunities: Four out of five victims of domestic abuse don't call the police – but 56% of victims identified in hospital had visited A&E in the year before seeking help. Having a domestic abuse service in a hospital gives A&E staff the confidence to ask the question, and a clear place to refer their patients for support.
  • We can reduce the strain on the NHS: Domestic abuse costs the NHS an estimated £1.73 billion per year. Our doctors and nurses already do an incredibly tough job. We cannot expect them to find the time and space to ask the question, in the right environment that supports a victim to disclose, without specialist services to refer onto. 

We're calling for every hospital in England and Wales to have specialist domestic abuse support onsite. 

Blog: 'Domestic abuse is a public health epidemic' – Jess Asato, Public Affairs Manager, SafeLives

Where are the hospital-based Idvas?

This map shows all the health-based Idva services that we know about. Because of commissioning structures, we can't know for sure exactly how many there are – but it's clear that there aren't enough. We want everyone experiencing domestic abuse to get the right support at the right time – whoever they are and wherever they live. 

If you know of or work for a health-based Idva service that isn't on this map, let us know by emailing communications@safelives.org.uk

Take action

  • Follow us on Twitter @safelives_ and use the hashtags #16Days #CryForHealth
  • Share our blogs, infographics and resources to raise awareness
  • Join the conversation: domestic abuse thrives behind closed doors. We need to make it everyone's business.

Support our work

We want to make sure that we have the right support, at the right time, to keep every victim safe. We want to get to the root of the problem, changing the narrative from 'why doesn't she leave?' to 'why doesn't he stop?'. We want to make sure that survivors and their children have the support they need to stay safe, recover and rebuild their lives. Every donation will help us to:

  • Develop new ways of supporting people experiencing domestic abuse, guided by robust evidence
  • Provide accredited training to frontline staff, who are lifelines for victims
  • Make sure that agencies work together to tackle the root of the problem – the perpetrator

Make a one off or regular donation through JustGiving

Donate by text: text STOP16 followed by the amount you wish to give to 70070

Domestic abuse is not acceptable, not inevitable – and together we can make it stop.

Idvas can be a lifeline for victims of domestic abuse. So what is it that they do?

All the research, blogs and shareable resources from #16Days in one place