Most local authorities have around the same number of women arriving to access services because of domestic violence as the number of women who leave their area due to the abuse. Authorities may not realise this, of course, as women (and their children) leave secretly – to reduce the risk from the abuser, they don’t tell the authorities when they leave, or where they are going.
Local authorities who provide domestic violence services – especially refuges or specialist accommodation services – tend to imagine a flow of women and children into their area from elsewhere. They know nothing about their local women who escape violence and abuse by crossing boundaries – the women who leave.
It is only because of the service data for the whole of England (up to 2011) that we can see the wider picture. And that is still only the picture of women and children who went to those particular types of housing services.
It is a striking picture – no strong flows between local authorities. Not even strong flows into major cities, or along key public transport routes.
is a pattern of thousands of very individual journeys – including journeys from
every single local authority in England.
It is a total churn of displacement – journeys probably far more complex
than the straight lines on the map. But
even a flow map of one year of journeys
gives a sense of the disruption and upheaval for women and children seeking
safety across the country.
 Bowstead, Janet C. 2015. “Forced Migration in the United Kingdom: Women’s Journeys to Escape Domestic Violence.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 40 (3): 307–320. doi:10.1111/tran.12085.
 Department for Communities and Local Government and University of St Andrews, Centre for Housing Research (2012) Supporting People Client Records and Outcomes, 2003/04-2010/11: Special Licence Access [computer file]. Colchester, Essex, UK Data Archive [distributor]. Available from: <http://dx.doi.org/10.5255/UKDA-SN-7020-1>