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Oxfordshire Council – Domestic Abuse Needs Assessment


In 2021, the statutory definition for domestic abuse was defined by the Domestic Abuse Act. 

Domestic abuse is a complex and multi-faceted form of crime. It can be physical, verbal, sexual, emotional, psychological, economic, a combination of these, and include many other forms of harmful behaviour. There is no one type of domestic abuse, nor is there one solution to remedy it. 

Oxfordshire Council appointed PHAST to undertake a Domestic Abuse Needs Assessment and then a Domestic Abuse Strategy. 

What was the problem? 

Domestic abuse is widespread with approximately 2.4 million adults experiencing domestic abuse in England and Wales yet many victims- survivors, including children and young people, do not report the abuse and are subjected to domestic abuse for a significant period of time before asking for help. 

The needs assessment was required to understand the scale of the Domestic Abuse problem in Oxfordshire and to develop the Oxfordshire Overarching Domestic Abuse Strategy 2022 – 2025 

How did PHAST help?

outlines Oxfordshire’s partnership response across the whole care pathway.

The PHAST needs assessment quantified the number of victims-survivors of domestic abuse in Oxfordshire, including children and young people and specific groups who are at increased risk of suffering domestic abuse. It also aimed to identify the number of perpetrators and young people who use abusive behaviour in Oxfordshire. 

PHAST analysed a range of data sources such as national data, local estimates and local recorded data.

 PHAST engaged with stakeholders to  identify whether the needs of victims-survivors (including children and young people) and perpetrators of domestic abuse across the population and those with protected characteristics, are being met by the current provision of domestic abuse services in Oxfordshire.

The needs assessment was presented and aligned with Oxfordshire’s current domestic abuse strategic priorities, which are:

  • Prevention: Preventing  domestic abuse from happening by challenging the attitudes and behaviour which foster it and intervening early where possible to prevent it.
  • Pursuing: Taking action to reduce the harm to victims-survivors of abuse by ensuring that perpetrators are held to account and provided with opportunities for change in a way that maximises victim- survivor safety.
  • Provision: Providing high quality, joined-up support for victims- survivors where domestic abuse does occur.
  • Partnership: Working in partnership to obtain the best outcome for victims-survivors, including children, and their families. 

What were the key findings?

The total estimated number of domestic abuse victims in Oxfordshire in year ending 2020 was 27,455. In comparison, the total number of police recorded domestic abuse victims in Oxfordshire in year ending 2020 was 7,851. The synthetic estimate is significantly higher than the recorded number as only a proportion of victims report domestic abuse to the police. Females are more likely to be victims of domestic abuse (69% female compared to 29% male) in Oxfordshire, which aligns with national data. There has been a 10% increase in the police recorded number of domestic abuse victims in Oxfordshire in year ending December 2020 compared to the average of the previous 3 years.

There are specific groups of the population who are more vulnerable and at increased risk of experiencing domestic abuse, such as people from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups, people with long-term illness or disability, those who identify themselves as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT+), older adults (those over 61 years), those with mental health and complex needs and/or drug and alcohol misuse, and pregnant victims. There is limited local data at the current time about the numbers of victims of domestic abuse broken down by these population groups.

What was the impact?

This information supported the development of the Oxfordshire Overarching Domestic Abuse Strategy 2022 – 2025 outlines Oxfordshire’s partnership response across the whole care pathway – from preventing domestic abuse from happening through to the provision of high-quality support for victims-survivors, including children and young people, and work with perpetrators of domestic abuse. It will inform future commissioning of domestic abuse services within Oxfordshire.


PHAST completed a very comprehensive needs assessment on Domestic Abuse, drawing on a wide range of data and information sources.

This included gaining feedback from not only providers and partners but also victim survivors & perpetrators. This work gave us a clear snapshot of the current needs in our area, in the context of the new legislation, the Domestic Abuse Act 2021.
Our allocated project lead worked very closely with me and my team to report back on progress and findings, and ensure we were able to steer the work at all points. The work was supported by an expert advisory group within PHAST to ensure recommendations and direction of travel were in line with good practice.
This was an excellent piece of work, which has given us a strong foundation for our strategic development going forward.

Kate Holburn

Head of Public Health Programmes, Live Well – Improve and Enable
Oxfordshire County Council


Thank you for sending the final report for the Options Appraisal for the future delivery of Haringey Integrated Lifestyle Services. 

It has been our pleasure working with you. We appreciated your expertise and your responsiveness throughout the project, and I hope to work with you again in the future.

Bezuayehu Gubay (He/Him)

Public Health Strategist and Commissioner (Personal and Community Health)
London Borough of Haringey


“PHAST provided us with a Board development session on ethical decision making. The session took us through a good overview of theory and principles in decision making and allowed strong group discussion.”

NHS Luton

Angela McNab, Chief Executive NHS Luton


The skills needs assessment undertaken by PHAST has been invaluable in helping us build a picture of what we need to do to build ‘Health in all policies’ skills across the GLA Group.

The extensive discussions with colleagues from across the GLA Group undertaken as part of the assessment are providing us with a firm footing for the next stages in our work – we are now taking the findings of the PHAST work and translating it into a reality.

Emma DeZoete, GLA Group Public Health Programme, Greater London Authorities


“The team from PHAST provided a comprehensive, high impact and detailed report of their findings in June 2022 which was incredibly well received at a Trust Board Seminar in July 2022.”

University Hospitals Bristol & Weston NHS Foundation Trust

Matthew Areskogab, Head of Experience of Care and Inclusion


For more information about our work or if you would like to speak to a member of the PHAST Team contact us.

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