Safe at Home: Homelessness and domestic abuse

This report is part of the Spotlight on homelessness

This report discusses domestic abuse and its link to homelessness, with a particular focus on survivors of domestic abuse who are chronically homeless. By homeless we do not only mean those who are rough sleeping, but anyone who does not have a safe or secure place to live (see definitions in the report).

The report is part of our Spotlight series which focuses on ‘hidden’ groups of domestic abuse victims and survivors or those with unmet needs, and proposes recommendations for both practitioners and policy makers. It is the fifth report in the series.


Escaping a perpetrator of domestic violence can take months of precision planning, like an army exercise. Imagine making your escape, only to find yourself homeless.

Tee Falcone, survivor and ambassador for the Woman’s Trust and St Mungo’s

Key findings

  1. Domestic abuse is a significant cause of homelessness, but the true extent of the issue is unknown.
  2. Survivors of domestic abuse who become homeless face multiple barriers to gaining a safe and secure place to live.
  3. Chronically homeless women experience multiple forms of disadvantage, which creates a cycle of abuse and homelessness.
  4. Responses to chronically homeless women must be gender responsive and trauma informed.
  5. Housing is a basic need that must be met before other disadvantages can be addressed.
  6. Housing providers play a vital role in the response to domestic abuse.


I will be 68 in 2018 and again face homelessness – all because I finally left domestic abuse.

Margi Isaac, survivor and founding members of VOICES

Further research and reading