Administrative data, as used in this research, record formal help-seeking: only the women and children who actually accessed support services, and not those who didn’t seek or receive such help. This therefore represents expressed need, rather than hidden need.
From this research, a formula for different types of services provision in England for women – recognising how women use refuges, other types of accommodation services, and non-accommodation services – has calculated the minimum provision required for this help-seeking due to domestic abuse. It uses administrative records of women’s help-seeking to services; as well as data on service location and capacity, and on characteristics of people and places, to analyse their association (or not) with different strategies and rates.
A minimum of 5,369 family bedspaces, of which 4,497 should be ‘Women’s Refuge’ spaces and 872 ‘Other’ types of support accommodation.
Women’s refuge provision must include specialist ‘by and for’ provision, in addition to being women-only; whereas other accommodation may be more generic but equally may be for higher and specialist support needs, such as by providing 24 hours’ staffing, separate rooms for teenage children, or particular staff specialisms. Staffing roles and levels must therefore be factored in beyond the bricks-and-mortar of ‘bedspaces’ to provide genuine support capacity.
N.B. The majority of help-seeking to accommodation is across Tier 1 administrative boundaries – 60% – but this is made up of women’s different strategies to refuges (65% across boundaries) in comparison to other types of support accommodation (33% across boundaries). Planning, funding and provision – as well as eligibility – must therefore be across these boundaries, at the national and regional scales.
A minimum of 1,084 fte (full-time-equivalent) community-based specialist support workers (separate roles from ‘advice’; or risk-based ‘advocacy’); rising to a minimum of 1,543 fte workers to be able to support women with additional needs beyond the domestic abuse. Specialist workers such as outreach, support or resettlement workers will work with a maximum number of women at any one time (‘caseload’) and for a range of timescales. A rights-based approach would provide holistic support, without arbitrary time limits. From this research, the timescales are based on the actual length of time women received such services, so are very much a minimum. This also does not include at all the support services children need and deserve.
N.B. The vast majority of help-seeking to non-accommodation services is within Tier 1 administrative boundaries, or within London as a region, but access must still be needs- and rights-based and therefore available across boundaries.
Please feel free to contact info(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)womensjourneyscapes.net for further information on the methodology and data.