Domestic violence and homelessness

woman sitting

Domestic violence affects the physical, emotional, social and economic wellbeing of individuals and families.  Domestic violence is also a major factor contributing to homelessness in Australia, particularly for women.

Domestic violence is any abusive behavior used by one partner in a relationship to gain and maintain control over another’s life.  It can occur in any type of domestic relationship, including spousal relationships, intimate personal relationships, family relationships and informal care relationships.  The most common example of domestic violence is the use of violence by men to stop women and children living in safety and free of fear in their own home.  The abuse or assaults in domestic violence may get more dangerous and occur more often over time, so it's important to get help as early as possible.

Research suggests that homelessness caused by domestic violence differs from other forms of homelessness.  Accommodation is often a critical factor in women’s decisions about whether to leave a violent relationship.  Research identifies poverty and a lack of independent financial resources as a key cause of homelessness for women and children experiencing domestic violence. 

Same sex domestic violence

Domestic violence is not limited to heterosexual relationships and also occurs in same sex relationships. Although there is limited research there is enough to suggest that the rates of domestic violence are equivalent to that in heterosexual communities.

Several aspects can make it more difficult for victims to take further action including:

  • The perpetrator can threaten “outing” as an additional form of control
  • General lack of belief that domestic violence occurs in same sex relationships

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, you can ring the Domestic Violence Line for help on 1800 656 463 (TTY 1800 671 442).

For more information on domestic violence go to:


For more information about domestic violence and same sex relationships please go to: