Domestic Abuse, Housing and Homelessness in Scotland: An Evidence Review

There has been little research on the relationship between domestic abuse, housing and homelessness, especially in the Scottish context. This review provides some secondary analysis of relevant homelessness and housing statistics to provide a more in-depth overview of the scale of domestic abuse as a contributory factor to homelessness in Scotland.


Statutory protection for women and children experiencing domestic abuse is relatively strong, providing legal entitlement to housing; however it is not clear from the evidence whether the scale of provision of housing and support matches the scale of need. The evidence review has identified research undertaken in Scotland during 2003, in particular this focused on tenancy sustainment and an evaluation of refuge provison. Little is known, however, about whether provision since then meets the needs of women and children at risk of domestic abuse in Scotland. There has been, for example, no mapping of the range of approaches and strategies in local authorities or evaluative research on the effectiveness of various housing options available to those at risk.

There is some new evidence being developed on the effectiveness of schemes to enable households at risk of domestic abuse to remain in their own homes but this is related to the Sanctuary Scheme model in England and Wales, and therefore there is no evidence on the extent of this provision in Scotland and the key factors in ensuring this is a safe and sustainable options for households at risk of domestic abuse.

Overall, the existing evidence identifies the scale of domestic abuse as a contributory factor to homelessness but does not establish the extent or scale of provision in Scotland or how current needs are being met.

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