SafeLives practitioner survey 2017

Since 2014, at the request of the Home Secretary, we've been carrying out an annual survey of domestic abuse professionals across the UK. In Autumn 2017 we expanded the survey to include not only Idva but also Outreach services and specialists working with young people. We did this because we know there are a number of different types of professional, who do vital work in supporting survivors and meeting their specific needs.

Read the report

Key Findings

Although the number of Idvas has slightly increased since last year's survey, we still don't have enough. We still need nearly 300 more Idvas to support everyone who is at high risk of serious harm or murder.

Nine police force areas have less than 50% of the recommended Idva coverage, three of whom have only 33% or less.

Click the maps below for more detail on each police force area

We need specialist services

According to practitioners, provision of a range of specialist services would make the biggest difference to victims and survivors of domestic abuse in their area.

This includes services that are tailored to the needs of marginalised communities:

‘[We need] More funding for LGBT Idvas. … This is a dangerous level to be operating at.’

Practitioners also highlighted a lack of mental health support, which is vital for those recovering from the effects of domestic abuse:

‘More counselling services. The Idva role is often fast paced and is centred around reducing clients risk - Idva's do not have the capacity to provide the restorative work required to assist victims or survivors of domestic abuse on the long-term’

We need to support children and young people


We know that domestic abuse has a devastating and long-term impact on children. SafeLives Insights data estimates that at least one child in every class starting primary school has been living with domestic abuse for their entire life – and services don’t have the resources to support them. 

‘There is ever increasing pressure on our service to provide support to children who have witnessed domestic violence as so many services that were supporting these families previously have been cut.’


We need to stop asking ‘why doesn’t she leave?’ and start asking ‘why doesn’t he stop?’

As well as keeping victims, survivors and their children safe and helping them to rebuild their lives, we need to tackle the root of the problem: the perpetrator. Professionals in our survey were clear that there needs to be intervention to challenge perpetrators to change.

‘By the time they - perpetrators - get into the criminal justice system they don't want to engage. We need to catch and manage behaviour earlier.’