This article discusses, in the context of the United Kingdom, service user participation in domestic violence services and how much the voices of domestic violence survivors are heard in policy and service development. If services addressing domestic violence are to continue to develop and to effectively meet abused women's needs, then the views of those using them need to be heeded and acted on. In the UK, these views have been mainly overlooked in the past. Now, however, as in some other countries, domestic violence survivor participation has been addressed to a small extent. This article discusses some of the pioneering techniques being tried out and the sensitivity and difficulties involved, within a context of an understanding of empowerment and the activist movement against gender violence. The article considers the participation of UK women experiencing violence in both shelter and advocacy services, in wider interagency forums and in policy development.
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