Link between abuse, homelessness highlighted during Domestic Violence Awareness Month
For Immediate ReleaseContact: Kelly Taft, MAG, 602-452-5020
PHOENIX (September 29, 2023) — According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence,* up to 57 percent of unsheltered women report that domestic violence was the immediate cause of their homelessness. Additionally, 38 percent of all victims of domestic violence experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. More than 90 percent of unhoused women have experienced severe physical or sexual abuse at some point in their lives, and 63 percent have been victims of domestic violence as adults.
“I may have found the courage to finally leave my abuser, but becoming homeless as a result of that has caused me to lose my dignity,” says K. Swensen,** a domestic violence survivor who experienced homelessness as a result of her abuse. “It’s trauma on top of trauma that is unrelenting. For survivors of domestic violence, having stable affordable housing is not about just being displaced, it’s a safety issue of life or death. When people ask me, ‘What is it like being homeless?’ I answer, ‘It is being completely homesick for a home that doesn’t exist.’”
During the month of October, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and stakeholders regionwide will honor Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a focus on individuals experiencing homelessness after fleeing domestic violence.
“Abusers often sabotage a victim’s economic stability, and many survivors face homelessness when they flee abusive homes,” said MAG Regional Domestic Violence Council Chair Anita Norton, councilmember from El Mirage. “It is important to recognize the link between abuse and homelessness and work to make sure that survivors have access to safe, affordable housing and shelters. We are committed to ensuring the safety of survivors, and that means having a safe place for them, as well as their children, to live.”
On Wednesday, the MAG Regional Council, the policymaking body of MAG that represents 27 cities and towns, three Native nations, Maricopa County, and portions of Pinal County, approved a resolution of support for domestic violence awareness month.
Many municipalities are also recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month by lighting buildings purple, the official ribbon color for domestic violence as a representation of courage and survival. A calendar of events around the region and domestic violence resources are available on the MAG website.
*See specific sources referenced in NNEDV Fact Sheet
**The survivor’s name has been changed for her safety