SafeLives practitioner survey

Idvas and domestic abuse practitioners support victims, survivors and children to become safe, well and rebuild their lives. We are determined to champion that work and the need for all professionals to be properly supported and funded. Each year, at the request of the Home Office, we collect the number of domestic abuse professionals in England and Wales and their experiences and challenges. 

In 2017-18 we found that we need 300 more Idvas to support people at the highest risk of serious harm or murder. We used this information to call for greater Idva provision as part of our response to the Domestic Abuse Bill consultation

The 2019 survey shows that we still don't have enough domestic abuse professionals to support everyone who needs them. That's why we're calling on the Government to invest in the full range of domestic abuse support in every area – join our campaign.

Read the report

Read the summary and key recommendations 

Key Findings from the 2018-2019 survey

There are still not enough Idvas to support everyone at high risk of serious harm or murder – victims of domestic abuse face a dangerous postcode lottery

Idvas provide vital support to victims of domestic abuse who are identified as being at high risk of serious harm or murder. They are a lifeline for victims and their children – but we still need at least 300 more Idvas to support the number of people who need them.

Support across the country remains patchy: nine police force areas have less than 50% of the Idva provision required to meet the needs of victims at high risk of serious harm or murder.

You should be able to access life-saving Idva support if you need it, wherever you live.

Click the map for more detail on each police force area

Victims of domestic abuse and their families need more help to stay safe at home

Almost two thirds of Idva services are based outside of refuge provision, indicating that while accommodation-based services are vital, victims and survivors need access to a range of options in the community. For those who require early intervention or recovery support, outreach provision remains patchy and inconsistent.

Young people still don't have the support they need

Young people experience some of the highest rates of domestic abuse, at high levels of severity. Despite this, almost one in five police force areas have no specialist support for young people experiencing domestic abuse.

The most vulnerable victims need support services in hospitals

We know that four out of five victims of domestic abuse don’t call the police – so it’s important that support services are located where they can make the most difference. SafeLives’ Cry for Health research demonstrated the impact of locating domestic abuse support in a hospital setting; hospital based Idvas were able to reach victims sooner, and support some of the most vulnerable people. But the number of Idvas based in a health setting is still less than a quarter of what we need.

All hospitals should invest in an Idva service to ensure victims aren’t just patched up and sent back into the arms of the perpetrator.

Perpetrators need to be held accountable, but funding is a barrier

For every victim of domestic abuse, there is someone responsible for that abuse – the perpetrator. In order to reduce the number of people experiencing abuse, we must hold perpetrators to account and challenge them to change their behaviour. However, more than a third of services were not aware of a response to perpetrators of domestic abuse in their local area – with funding identified as the biggest barrier

In order to end domestic abuse, national and local Government must invest more in provision which challenges the behaviour of perpetrators.