In the United States, domestic violence will detrimentally affect millions of individuals at some point in their lifetime. Domestic violence includes physical, sexual, emotional and economic abuse, as well as stalking and controlling behaviors by a family or household member. Intimate partner violence, which describes acts of domestic violence by a current or former intimate partner, is a subset of domestic violence. Domestic violence impacts more than just the victim’s physical and psychological well-being.
There is a strong nexus between domestic violence and homelessness. Domestic violence is often cited as a primary cause of homelessness for families with children. Homelessness is also a risk factor for domestic violence victimization. Both homelessness and domestic violence victimization put individuals at a higher risk for poor physical and mental health.
Due to the complex safety needs and potential abuse faced by victims, traditional homeless shelters and temporary housing programs are frequently inadequate or unsafe. In response, many states have enacted laws to aid victims in securing or retaining safe housing solutions. This issue brief examines the correlation between domestic violence and homelessness and identifies the landscape of state-specific legal interventions aimed at preventing victims from become homeless.
For a summary of state laws addressing housing rights of domestic violence victims, view our 50-State Compilation.
To learn about the correlation between domestic violence and homelessness, both nationally and in individual states, and legal interventions to protect the housing rights of victims in each state, read our State Fact Sheets on Domestic Violence and Homelessness.
This blog post further examines public health and other challenges faced by victims and the need for laws that address domestic violence and homelessness.