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Nowhere to Turn, 2018

Findings from the second year of the No Woman Turned Away project

Authors: Charlotte Miles and Katie Smith

In 2015, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) commissioned Women’s Aid to provide additional support to women facing difficulties accessing a refuge space and conduct a detailed study of their journeys. Women’s Aid set up the No Woman Turned Away (NWTA) project to deliver this work, comprising a team of specialist caseworkers supporting women into refuge, alongside dedicated evaluation support conducting detailed monitoring and analysis of the data collected on survivors’ needs and system response. The 2017-2018 NWTA report documents detailed monitoring and analysis of victims’ pathways, with the following objectives:

  • Through the use of On Track, explore in more detail the pathways of women seeking a refuge space and how their experiences change over time.
  • Explore the needs of women supported through the project, how these intersect, the ability of the current refuge network to support women with these needs, and where further support may be required.
  • Further explore survivors’ experiences with statutory services, identifying areas of concern and potential solutions.
  • Increase our understanding of the type of support provided by the caseworkers to women seeking a refuge space in order to reflect on the lessons learned, and identify useful practice.

The first part of the report looks at women’s experiences of seeking a refuge space, and the impact of multiple support needs on their search. The second part focuses on the response given by statutory services to women fleeing domestic abuse, and discusses ways to improve it. The third and final section outlines the support offered by the NWTA caseworkers to the survivors of domestic abuse they work with. The methodology can be found in Appendix 1.

Who did we support?

A total of 500 referrals were made to the NWTA caseworkers between 12th January 2017 and 11th January 2018. Of these 500 referrals, 271 women engaged with the service. 264 women engaged and then finished their support during this time, the remaining seven women were receiving ongoing support on the 11th January 2018, when this sample was taken. The analysis of the casework data in this report relates to these 264 women.

The number of women supported this year is significantly lower than the 404 women supported in the first year of the project due to staff shortages. As last year, this report shows the complexity and range of support needs that the women supported by the caseworkers have, as well as the intensity of support required from the caseworkers.