Women escaping abuse often contact a range of organisations and services. Some help – Some don’t.
Different women might find particular services more accessible – more understanding of their needs and concerns. Each woman’s journey to escape domestic abuse is unique, and only some include formal services in their help-seeking.
The key focus for any responses should be to respect women’s rights and needs – and listen to their experiences. And independent voluntary sector services can be key in this – especially specialist ‘by and for’ services.
These might crucially be women-only services – and services by and for particular minoritised communities.
Black and ethnic minoritised women are significantly more likely to be referred to services by voluntary sector agencies – and less likely to be referred by statutory sector agencies – than White British women. When referrals are made by statutory agencies, Police are more likely to refer Asian Pakistani women, Housing more likely to refer Black African women and Social Services more likely to refer Asian Bangladeshi women.
And Black and ethnic minoritised women are significantly more likely to access services run by the independent voluntary sector – especially women’s refuges – than White British women. This might reflect different help-seeking patterns, as well as the availability and suitability of different services. In terms of distance travelled, and length of time in support services, it is difficult to generalise about different ethnic groups as there is so much variety within groups.
There is more detail in a briefing paper from this research.
The differences and the similarities between women do show how vital the independent and specialist voluntary sector is for women’s domestic violence journeys. So that all women can make the journeys they need and receive the support and understanding they deserve.
 Analysis by Janet C. Bowstead using data fromDepartment 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