"It's an incredible achievement," said Jamie Richards from Coventry Haven, now the local Women's Aid centre. "But it's a shame that we still have to be here after 50 years."
Ms Richards said the project, via staff and volunteers, supported those looking to leave a violent or controlling relationship.
"You feel very alone thinking you're the only one it's happening to," she said. "It's just very scary and lonely.
"Whether it's a call or you talk to somebody, it's really, really hard to do that - it's a massive step."
Reflecting on 50 years of support, she said there had been progress since the 1970s but there was "still a lot of work to do to make abusers accountable".
Women's Aid estimated that in 2020-21, almost 11,000 women accessed a refuge in England and more than 124,000 received community support.
Speakers included Nick Gazzard, who has campaigned against domestic abuse since the murder of his daughter, Hollie, by her former partner. He developed an app, Hollie Guard, which can be activated to alert contacts when a victim is being abused.