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Refuge Against Domestic Violence

Refuge opened the world’s first safe house for women and children escaping domestic violence in Chiswick, West London, in 1971. 

Women and children flocked to our doors because, for the first time, someone was saying it was wrong to beat your partner. Back then, domestic violence was seen as a “private matter”, to be dealt with “behind closed doors”. Society turned a blind eye.

Since 1971, Refuge has led the campaign against domestic violence. We have grown to become the country’s largest single provider of specialist domestic violence services. On any given day we support over 2,000 women and children.

What we believe

Refuge is committed to a world where domestic violence is not tolerated and where women and children can live in safety.

We aim to empower women and children to rebuild their lives, free from violence and fear. We provide a range of life-saving and life-changing services, and a voice for the voiceless.

How will we achieve our mission?


Refuge operates a three-pronged approach which involves:


Providing a range of high quality services for abused women and children. Our national network of services supports women and children to regain control of their lives and move forwards in a positive way.


Advocating for improvements to domestic violence policy and practice, and the implementation of legislation to meet the needs of abused women and children. Encouraging other agencies to develop best practice services and approaches.


Helping to prevent domestic violence through campaigning, education, training and research. We work in partnership with other agencies to raise awareness of domestic violence, its causes and solutions.

Who to contact

0808 2000 247
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