Housing interventions for intimate partner violence survivors: A systematic review.

Author(s): 
Klein, L.B., Chesworth, B.R., Howland-Myers, J.R., Rizo, C.F., & Macy, R.J. (2019).
Source: 
Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 1 – 16.
Type of Profession:
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Summary: 

Intimate partner violence (IPV) survivors are much more likely to experience housing insecurity or homelessness than  people who have not experienced IPV. Results from this study showed that there is an overall dearth of research concerning interventions that address IPV survivors’ housing insecurity and needs and how effective they can be for survivors.

Expanded Abstract: 

Intimate partner violence (IPV) survivors are much more likely to experience housing insecurity or homelessness than  people who have not experienced IPV. Results from the study showed that there is an overall dearth of research concerning interventions that address IPV survivors’ housing insecurity and needs. However, little comprehensive research has evaluated the effectiveness of interventions used to address IPV survivors’ housing insecurity. To address this knowledge gap, this study conducted a systematic review guided by three questions: (a) What are current interventions for addressing IPV survivors’ housing needs? (b) What are the methodological strengths and limitations of the research evaluating those interventions? (c) How effective are the identified interventions? The time during which survivors are actively leaving their abusive partners is often an especially dangerous period, so ensuring safe transitions for survivors is critical (Campbell, Glass, Sharps, Laughon, & Bloom, 2007). A contributing factor to IPV homicide might be the lack of housing services for survivors, which often forces survivors to return to their abuser or to turn to options that offer little, if any, safety (Menard, 2001; Stevenson & Wolfers, 2006). Research also finds that the need for safe housing is one of the most urgent concerns among IPV survivors who are planning to leave an abusive relationship (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011).

IPV survivors who have little financial or social support often rely on IPV housing services for shelter, safety, and healing (Galano et al., 2013; Grossman & Lundy, 2011). Typical housing interventions may include crisis or emergency shelter services, transitional supportive housing (TSH), and permanent supportive housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD, 2018) defines crisis or emergency shelter services as temporary or transitional shelter for the homeless in general or for specific populations. Notably, crisis or emergency shelters vary tremendously in the type of housing they offer (e.g., communal living space, individual bedrooms, independent living; shelter can range from secure facilities with hidden locations to housing survivors in local motels) and in the approaches shelter staff use to meet survivors’ housing and other needs (Sullivan, 2010).

Results from the study showed that there is an overall dearth of research concerning interventions that address IPV survivors’ housing insecurity and needs. Shelter is the most commonly assessed and available housing intervention for IPV survivors, but only limited empirical evaluation is available of shelter effectiveness. In addition, findings indicate both traditional shelter services and innovative interventions (e.g., rapid rehousing, flexible funding) would benefit from rigorous evaluation including examining survivor and situational characteristics contributing to housing strategy effectiveness.

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