Domestic Abuse

  • 63% of homeless women have experienced domestic violence; 40% have experienced sexual abuse[1]
  • On a typical day, an estimated 3,615 women and 3,580 children are supported in refuge-based services in England. An estimated 16,815 are supported annually[2]
  • 13% of the households accepted by local authorities to be owed a main homelessness duty said they lost their home because of the breakdown of a violent relationship[3]
  • 30% of women who have slept rough report not receiving the assistance they required with domestic violence[4]

“Lots of the women referred to us are fleeing domestic violence, and are massively at risk on the streets. They are pimped, they are being sexually exploited, they are held in crack houses. When we meet the women they have lost their relationship, they have lost their children, some of them have been abused continuously since childhood. They come with complex needs.”Stella Wells, Manager of St Mungo’s South London Women’s Service
“One of the things I have found distressing is when women in violent relationships have partners who go to prison and get absolutely no psychological help at all. They then come out and the same situation turns around again and again. The popular attitude is for the women to leave rather than for the man to get themselves together. But I think we need to work psychologically with men and offer the same sort of deep and long-term psychological work as we have been talking about offering to women.”Gabrielle Brown, Psychotherapist for St Mungo’s Life Works Team
“Women need to know it’s not wrong to come forward and ask for help. It’s not wrong to walk into the police station and explain what’s been happening. People need to know it’s unacceptable to be beaten up or mentally tortured by the person who is supposed to love you. We need to talk openly about domestic abuse. So that everyone knows, actually it’s wrong for a woman to walk into work every day with a black eye.”Stella Wells, Manager of St Mungo’s service at The Chrysalis Project


[1] James-Hanman, D: Domestic Violence: a cause of Rough Sleeping, a presentation from Against Violence & Abuse (AVA) 2011. (

[2] Barron, J: 2008-9 Survey of Domestic Violence Services; Women’s Aid Federation of England, October 2009

[3] HM Government, Department of Commnunities and Local Government

[4] Reeve, K; Casey, R; Goudie, R: Homeless Women: Still being failed yet striving to survive; Crisis, 2006

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