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Lack of housing services for women puts violence victims at greater risk of homelessness, report warns

A LACK of housing services for women is putting victims of violence at greater risk of homelesness, a report has warned. 

There is a strong link between violence and women becoming homeless which is often not talked about, according to the Centre for Homelessness Impact (CHI) and Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research.

One reason for this, highlighted in the report, is shortages of women-only temporary accommodation.

Testimonies by women included in the report show how some ended up on the streets because they felt it was safer than staying in mixed accommodation.

One, Ash, said sharing accommodation with men was not an option for traumatised women like herself. 

“It leads to feeling chronically unsafe which can have harmful repercussions,” she said.

The groups’ report, Women, Homelessness and Violence: What Works? is calling for more women-only temporary accommodation to be made available.

The groups also expressed concerns about shortfalls in services supporting women subjected to historic experiences of violence and their link with homelessness. 

One in five women who experience extensive violence become homeless compares to 1 per cent of those who have not, according to previous research. 

The groups said that the full significance of violence is often missed as a reason for a woman becoming homeless, with services focusing on behaviours such as drug or alcohol misuse, which can be responses to trauma.

CHI chief executive Dr Ligia Teixeira said: “It is important that both policy and practice improve where these fall short in meeting the needs of women, including the needs of those with historic experiences of violence who are still living with its consequences.”

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