Policy paper

health

How can we better support women experiencing homelessness?

Project Details

Last updated:

August 4, 2022

Status

Completed

Contact

hello@homelessnessimpact.org

Key reports

One in five women who suffer violence will also experience homelessness compared to just one in a hundred who have no experience of violence, according to national data, and yet homelessness services do not currently reflect these women’s needs.

A significant proportion of women experience violence, and statistics consistently show that violence is perpetrated against women at much higher rates than against men. Violence against women in the home has also increased significantly during the Covid pandemic.

In some cases, women who suffer violence are still being sent to mixed-sex accommodation, where they can feel unsafe and become retraumatised.  Women say that they sometimes sleep rough or in other unsafe situations if they cannot access single-sex housing.

Find out more about this report in the video below.

Findings: 

  • There is a need to develop a more inclusive, housing-led response to women experiencing homelessness and violence
  • New solutions should be developed that support women experiencing violence to remain in their homes while the perpetrator is moved away
  • There is a need for increased provision of women-only temporary accommodation
  • A shift in policy focus to preventative, rather than crisis-response approaches is needed
  • Responses must be ‘gender informed’, recognising the distinct experiences and barriers faced by women.

How we went about it

Drawing on our Evidence and Gap Maps (EGMs), we explored what we already know about the effectiveness of interventions and policy approaches most likely to meet the specific needs of women experiencing violence and homelessness.

Case Study

Amira became homeless with her two sons for a year in 2016. They stayed in bed and breakfasts and sofa surfed for a while before moving into a refuge.

'I became homeless because of domestic violence. Due to the perpetrator not sticking to the restraining order, I was given the choice of either moving into the refuge or losing my children which was completely unfair. I lost my house, all my possessions and my business. Social services were almost blaming me for my boys being in danger. I did nothing wrong but ultimately I was punished as I was the one who ended up homeless to ensure the boys were safe. It would have been fairer if the perpetrator was forced to move. Luckily it was single sex accommodation other than the children because it was a refuge. If it had been mixed-sex, I would not have been comfortable and would not have felt safe.'

What's next?

This project calls for responses to women experiencing homelessness and violence, to be 'gender informed'. This means that services provided by local councils and other bodies should be better tailored to meet the distinct experiences faced by women, such as trauma and anxiety.

Team

Dr Kesia Reeve, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research
Dr Emma Bimpson, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research
Hannah Green, Centre for Homelessness Impact

Project Details

Last updated:

August 4, 2022

Status

Completed

Funded by

Contact

hello@homelessnessimpact.org

Key reports

How can we better support women experiencing homelessness?

Topic
project dates
July 2021
project leads
hello@homelessnessimpact.org
How can we better support women experiencing homelessness?
A significant proportion of women experience violence, and statistics consistently show that violence is perpetrated against women at much higher rates than against men. Violence against women in the home has also increased significantly during the Covid pandemic. This policy paper, written in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University's Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, explores gender-based approaches to homelessness policy.
Sheffield Hallam University
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