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Under-reporting a major issue for tackling domestic abuse

5 March 2014

As the Violence Against Women report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), revealed that around one in two women in Britain has been physically or sexually assaulted, Citizens Advice says that its research suggests there could be as many as half a million people who have not reported abuse.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive, Gillian Guy, said:

"Domestic abuse can tear families apart and wreck lives. Ongoing physical and emotional abuse can be made worse by acute financial pressures.

“The number of people reporting domestic violence could be a significant under-estimate. More than one in four Citizens Advice clients said they had experienced abuse when they were asked as part of a pilot project to help domestic violence victims.

"Reporting and facing up to violence inflicted by a family member is a brave and painful decision. Victims of abuse face a steep uphill battle to get help and justice and it is a serious concern that hundreds of thousands feel they have to shoulder this burden alone. Police forces must act without hesitation in reaching out to victims who come forward."

Notes to editors:

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  3. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit You can also get advice online at
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
  5. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014  service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.