Preventing homelessness due to domestic violence: Providing a safe space or closing the door to new possibilities?

Gina Netto, Hal Pawson, Cathy Sharp

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    Domestic violence has been recognized as a major contributory factor to homelessness in the UK and elsewhere, with women more likely to be affected. In the UK and other countries undergoing welfare reform, moves toward 'active citizenship' increase the complexity of the relationship between states and citizens and open up new strategies for both. However, analysts have noted some strategies can create new forms of inequality, including gender-based ones. This article considers the impact of prevention-centred homelessness policy responses to domestic violence, with specific reference to the 'Sanctuary' model. Sanctuary schemes support women facing homelessness due to domestic violence to remain in their current residence, protected against attack from outside the home. Drawing on analysis of the literature and empirical work, we compare the experiences of women who have used traditional forms of support and Sanctuary services. We argue that while the model has the potential to provide greater autonomy to some women in these circumstances, it is not appropriate for all. Increased emphasis on Sanctuary schemes could make it more difficult for women who might prefer to move. We conclude that more attention needs to be paid to addressing the origin of women's homelessness due to domestic violence. © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)719-735
    Number of pages17
    JournalSocial Policy and Administration
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Domestic violence
    • Gender
    • Homelessness
    • Housing
    • Prevention
    • Sanctuary


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