Spotlight on domestic abuse

20th October 2022

What Is domestic abuse?

“Domestic abuse can be defined as a pattern of behaviour in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.

Abuse is physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviours that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure, or wound someone.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. It can occur within a range of relationships including couples who are married, living together or dating. Domestic abuse affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Survivors of domestic abuse may also include a child or other relative, or any other household member.” (1)

Domestic abuse in Surrey  

  • An estimated 35,400 people experience domestic abuse in Surrey. (2)
  • 15% of all crime in Surrey is domestic abuse. (3)
  • Almost 1 in 3 women aged 16 to 59 will experience domestic abuse during their lifetime. (3)
  • Two women per week were killed by a partner or previous partner during the year ending March 2019, and 1 in 6 women experienced domestic abuse during the same period. (3)
  •  The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the risk for survivors of domestic abuse, with many vulnerable people still living with their abusers. Domestic abuse charities have seen a 60% rise in the average number of monthly contacts since the start of 2020 (4) (BBC 23 March 2021).
  • The cost to the public purse of domestic abuse in England and Wales was estimated to be approximately £66bn in the year ending March 2017, including services, lost workdays, police, ambulances, hospital care etc. (3)
  • By March 2021, Your Sanctuary had recorded a 31% increase in calls to their support helpline, compared to the previous financial year. Rape & Sexual Abuse Centre (RASAC) and Your Sanctuary recorded a 200% increase in calls to their helplines in last 12 months, and RASAC has a 2-year waiting list for counsellors. (5)
  • August 2020 – On average, Surrey Police recorded 28 domestic abuse crimes   every day (3)

Supporting charities to combat domestic abuse

We are proud to fund hundreds of community groups across Surrey every year. In 2020-201, this totalled more than £4.3 million. We work in partnership with our donors to fund a range of needs and themes, including domestic abuse. We are incredibly proud to support so many vital groups across Surrey, who work hard to make our community a better place.

Here are some of the organisations that are benefiting from generous contributions from our donors Click on each organisation to visit their website.

Your Sanctuary

Domestic abuse charity Your Sanctuary has been providing lifesaving support to survivors of domestic abuse since 1977. Their dedicated team of staff and volunteers, based in Woking, offer protection, support and empowerment services to survivors and their children, and work towards breaking the cycle of domestic violence.

The Community Foundation for Surrey is a long-term supporter of Your Sanctuary, having awarded 19 grants to the local charity over the past 11 years.

Most recently, we have been delighted to support them at a time where it has never been more critical. Grants from our Surrey Coronavirus Response Fund have enabled the continuation of their online chat and helpline provision, as the surge in demand for these services amidst the pandemic, has stretched their team and resources to the limit.

“These grants have enabled us to continue running our vital domestic abuse Surrey-wide helpline and online chat service. These services are often the only way survivors who are in lockdown with their abuser can reach out for support and information – they are a lifeline to those in our community for whom ‘home’ is the most dangerous place they can be.”

Fiamma Pather – Chief Executive, Your Sanctuary

*Read the full story


I Choose Freedom (formerly Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid)

I Choose Freedom accommodate and support survivors in four refuges across Surrey.

Acting on the urgent calls from community groups, like I Choose Freedom and Your Sanctuary, Surrey County Council, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), the Community Foundation for Surrey partnered to create a new building for survivors of domestic abuse.

Extraordinarily, in the span of four weeks, a building provided by the Council has been fitted with all the benefits of home:

“We put a lot of pressure on ourselves really to get it open [for when lockdown ended] because I wanted to be open for when women may have their first opportunity to escape”… “I stayed in a refuge years ago. My son was seven when we went, and I remember him being terrified of this big old building that we stayed in. He wouldn’t even go to the bedroom on his own. So I know that women need to arrive somewhere that feels homely and that makes them feel safe.”

Charlotte Kneer, Chief Executive, I Choose Freedom

Read the full story


South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Outreach Service

South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Outreach Service provides free, confidential, independent and impartial advice to anyone aged 16 or above affected by domestic abuse living in the boroughs of Waverley and Guildford.

The services provided by the team include specialist support for survivors, children and young people. The support is designed to help survivors and their children remain safe and build a positive future, regardless of their circumstances.

Experiencing domestic abuse (including witnessing or being exposed to it) can have a huge impact on the mental health of a survivor. The service saw a 52% increase in the number of referrals since the start of the Covid pandemic and the degree of trauma in adults and young people impacted by domestic abuse has been exacerbated. Thanks to grants awarded by the Community Foundation for Surrey, South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Service has been able to expand their provision of counselling services for adult survivors and mental health support for children.

“The counselling and mental health support we are able to offer is hugely beneficial to survivors and their children and this would not have been possible without the generous funding we received.” 

Cath, Chief Executive, South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Service

Read case study (external site)


The Community Foundation for Surrey also supports East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services (ESDAS)  and North Surrey Domestic Abuse Services (NSDAS).


Interested in becoming a donor to combat domestic abuse?

The Community Foundation for Surrey is an independent charitable foundation, that brings together local donors with voluntary organisations providing positive solutions to the many challenges within our communities including domestic abuse.

To enquire about ‘Becoming a donor’, please email us at

If you wish to speak to one of our team:

Contact Zoe Coltart, Fund Development Manager, 01483 958307,

Contact Amy Lee, Fund Development Manager, 01483 906383, 

Read more about the Community Foundation for Surrey



1. United Nations:

2. Surrey Police via Crime Stoppers:

3. Michael More-Molyneux and the Lieutenancy Focus Group on Domestic Abuse half day conference, Tuesday 28th September 2021:

4. BBC 23 March 2021.

5. Community Foundation for Surrey End of Grant reports via RASC and Your Sanctuary