C4 Dispatches worked with Reigate and Banstead Women’s Aid to understand the lives of victims and staff at a women’s refuge.
The brave women taking part, including CEO Charlotte Kneer (pictured), waived their anonymity. We can only be grateful.
This was a programme* society needed to understand the truth statistics (however horrific) can never fully communicate.
Through stories of every kind of abuse, a picture emerges of staff doing all they can to help traumatised women and children escape and, if they’re lucky, rebuild their lives.
And it works. When there are adequate facilities, trained specialists and enough time, the seemingly impossible happens.
But the unmissable conclusion is darker.
The refuge must reject 6 out of 10 requests for a place. Across the country core funding is being reduced and many refuges have closed. Victims often go on living in fear of their abusers in spite of legal constraints.
Government at the highest level is committed to action. A stronger law on domestic abuse will soon be in force. Anyone seeing this film is likely to join the call for more still to be done.
The elephant-sized question that remains is whether social policy overall is likely to reduce the number of troubled families and the perpetrators and victims they create.
* First shown 26 February. Available on Channel 4 Catch Up and apps.