Domestic violence is often a contributor or cause of homelessness. Escaping abusive situations means leaving the residence where the abuse is occurring and sometimes victims are unable to find shelter through friends, family or available community resources. Understanding the challenges of being homeless, and the statistics about homelessness and domestic violence, may help encourage victims to plan how they leave, when they leave, what circumstances they leave under and where they go, as this article explains.
16% of homeless persons are victims of domestic violence. Source: The U.S. Conference of Mayors 2013 Status Report on Hunger & Homelessness, A 25-City Survey (2013).
Approximately 50% of all women who are homeless report that domestic violence was the immediate cause of their homelessness. Source: “Pressing Issues Facing Families Who Are Homeless.” The National Center on Family Homelessness. (2013).
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Domestic violence creates vulnerability to homelessness for women and children with limited economic resources. Among mothers with children experiencing homelessness, more than 80% had previously experienced domestic violence. Source: Aratani, Y. (2009). “Homeless Children and Youth, Causes and Consequences. National Center for Children in Poverty.”
84% of homeless women have experienced severe physical or sexual abuse at some point in their lives. Source: Browne, A. 1998. "Responding to the Needs of Low Income and Homeless Women Who are Survivors of Family Violence." Journal of American Medical Women's Association. 53(2): 57-64.
63% of homeless women have been victims of intimate partner violence as adults. Source: Browne, A. 1998. "Responding to the Needs of Low Income and Homeless Women Who are Survivors of Family Violence." Journal of American Medical Women's Association. 53(2): 57-64.
33% of homeless women have been victims of severe assault by their current or most recent intimate partner. Source: Browne, A. 1998. "Responding to the Needs of Low Income and Homeless Women Who are Survivors of Family Violence." Journal of American Medical Women's Association. 53(2): 57-64.
By age 12, 83% of homeless children have been exposed to at least one serious violent event and nearly 25% have witnessed acts of violence within their families. Source: Bassuk, E.L., Weinreb, L.F., Buckner, J.C., Browne, A., Salomon, A., & Bassuk, S.S. (1996). “The characteristics and needs of sheltered homeless and low-income housed mothers.” Journal of the American Medical Association, 276, 640-646.
Mothers experiencing homelessness have three times the rate of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (36%) and twice the rate of drug and alcohol dependence (41%). Source: Bassuk, EL. et al. 1997. “Homelessness in female-headed families: childhood and adult risk and protective factors.” American Journal of Public Health87(2): 241-248.
About 50% of mothers experienced a major depressive episode since becoming homeless. They have ulcers at four times the rate of other women. Sources: Weinreb, L. et al. (2006). “A Comparison of the Health and Mental Status of Homeless Mothers in Worcester, Mass: 1993-2003.” American Journal of Public Health. 96(8):1444-1448. And Weinreb LF et al. (1998). “The health characteristics and service use patterns of sheltered homeless and low-income housed mothers.” Journal of General Internal Medicine. 13(1): 389-397.
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