Domestic abuse a major cause of homelessness for women

More than a third of homeless women said that domestic abuse or violence was a major factor in their situation, causing them to sleep rough or become one of the ‘hidden homeless’ staying on friends’ sofas.

Research by homelessness charity St Mungo’s found that 32% of the women they worked with said domestic abuse contributed to their homelessness; 8% of men said the same.

Abuse tears apart young families, as the victim and their children sometimes have to relocate hundreds of miles away in order to be safe. To escape their abuser, they must lose all contact with family and friends.

Meanwhile, other women may choose to remain in an abusive situation, or as ‘hidden homeless’, rather than risk losing their family or being found by their abuser.

Wanda* became homeless when she fled physical violence in Scotland earlier this year. If she tries to stay with her parents or son, she is at risk due to her ex-partner living in the area. As a result of leaving so suddenly, she took very few belongings.

Due to numerous physical and mental health issues she is unable to work, so cannot access most private rented accommodation. If she tries to stay with her parents or son, she is at risk due to her ex-partner living in the area.

Wanda began going to the gym to help reduce her anxiety. It has helped her to cope with her depression by keeping busy and filling her days with meaningful activities. Church Homeless Trust paid for her gym sign-up fees, and for a variety of clothing to wear during the summer months, plus some decent trainers.