The Impact of Housing Instability on Children Who Experience Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women and children. In Connecticut, 1,207 adults and 972 children were sheltered in FY 2017 with domestic violence shelters operating at 122% capacity throughout the year. Additionally, during that same time period, a total of 101 women and children were living in domestic violence transitional housing in the state.

When families, including those displaced by domestic violence, experience homelessness and housing instability, children suffer. They face a significantly higher risk of chronic or unaddressed health and developmental issues than their peers. When compared to children in stable homes, children experiencing homelessness have four times the rate of developmental delays, three times the rate of emotional or behavioral problems, and twice the rate of learning disabilities.

Given that children who are exposed to domestic violence are at high risk of developing emotional, learning, and behavioral problems, housing instability and homelessness will only compound these problems. Efforts to identify housing options for survivors with children are therefore essential.

Our newest policy brief examines emerging promising approaches to achieving housing stability that are demonstrating encouraging results including:

  • “Domestic Violence Housing First” model;
  • “Flexible funding” coupled with advocacy; and,
  • MOUs between domestic violence providers and housing/homelessness providers to systematize equitable access to housing resources in a manner that protects victim safety.

Read the full policy brief.