Homelessness is a massive issue plaguing the United States, but it is rarely looked at as the complex and multi-faceted problem it truly is. One such overlooked factor of the homelessness issue is the role of violence against women.The U.S. Department of Justice reported that one in four homeless women are on the streets because of violence inflicted against her.
This isn’t a problem that solely affects women, but children as well; Among women who experience homelessness and have children, over 80 percent had previously experienced domestic violence, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty.
This isn’t just domestic violence in the far past with coincidental homelessness later on. The sheer amount of homeless women who have experienced domestic violence already contests this, but also, in an examination of twelve studies, the Family and Youth Services Bureau found that between 22 and 57 percent of women report that domestic violence was an immediate cause of their homelessness, with numbers varying depending on location.
Countless studies and reports have shown that domestic violence is a huge determinant in homelessness among women. And this only contributes more to violence against women.
Homeless women are significantly more likely to experience any type of violence than non-homeless women. This is partially because homeless people on general are prone to becoming victims to violence, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. However, homeless women are more likely to experience intimate partner violence than homeless men, showing how the issue of domestic violence against women continues into vagrancy.
Victimized homeless women very rarely report such instances of violence against them, the U.S. Department of Justice reported, and when they do rarely get legitimate response from the authorities.
When domestic violence and homelessness meet, it creates a brutal cycle of assault against women with little way out. The National Network to End Domestic Violence conducted a nationwide study in 2015 in which ninety-three percent of domestic violence programs participated in. In just one day, over 31,500 people escaping domestic violence went to a shelter or program for such victims. Over 12,197 requests were not met due to lack of resources.
More resources for victims of domestic violence are necessary now. Not only is support for victims of domestic violence something we should uphold as a civic duty to them, but it will also address a huge contributor to homelessness.