The Domestic Abuse Report 2020: The Hidden Housing Crisis

The Domestic Abuse Report-2020-The Hidden Housing Crisis Domestic abuse is by its very nature a housing issue. This report examines the housing experiences of survivors of domestic abuse using evidence from Women’s Aid Survivor Voice Survey 2019. It reveals that housing fears are a barrier for many women leaving, and that those who do leave face upheaval and disruption, for themselves and their children, as a result of challenges in finding suitable housing.

© Women’s Aid, June 2020

Please cite this report as:
Women’s Aid (2020) The Domestic Abuse Report 2020: The Hidden Housing Crisis, Bristol: Women’s Aid.

Key Findings

Housing concerns represent a significant barrier to leaving an abusive partner.

Challenges included:

  • a lack of access to money to cover the costs of a new home (including paying the rent, upfront deposit and necessary bills) – for some survivors this was because of their financial dependence on a controlling partner;
  • fears of homelessness and being forced to live in unsuitable or unsafe housing;
  • being denied help from their local housing team; and
  • experiencing difficulties in finding a landlord who would accept rent paid by state benefits

“…the price I paid for getting out of the terrible relationship.” The “price to pay” for leaving included enduring upheaval (including having to move several times), challenging housing conditions, ongoing abuse, and financial burdens.

Mixed responses from housing teams.

Twenty-five of the 136 respondents to our survey had (at any point) asked their local housing team for emergency accommodation because of domestic abuse. These 25 survivors had had mixed experiences in their dealings with housing teams.

Under half of these survivors (n=11) had been considered as being in priority need for housing; eight of them had children. Five of the 11 survivors who were not seen as in priority need also had children.

Friends or family often played a key role in helping survivors with housing. Survivors living temporarily with friends or family were very grateful for their help, but encountered difficulties including overcrowding and ongoing abuse.v

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