One of the questions so often asked in any discussion of battering is, 'Why do women stay and put up with it?' What is usually overlooked is the extent to which women have been trapped in violent relationships simply because they have had nowhere else to go. The opening of refuges in the early 1970s did much to publicise the existence of violent husbands and the need of women to escape from them. In 1977 the Department of Environment commissioned the Women's Aid Federation to undertake a national survey of refuges and housing for battered women in England and Wales, to examine the extent of refuge provision which had become available and what sort of service it was offering, and to examine the effectiveness of two recent pieces of legislation - the Housing (Homeless Persons) Act, 1977 and the Domestic Violence Act, 1976. This chapter is based on that survey (Binney, Harkell and Nixon, 1981).