Skip to main content

IPV Survivors’ Perceptions of How a Flexible Funding Housing Intervention Impacted Their Children

Abstract

An estimated 15.5 million American children are exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) every year. Such exposure negatively impacts children’s health, development and academic performance and may also be accompanied by housing instability or homelessness. Children growing up with periods of homelessness or housing instability are at risk for many of the same detrimental outcomes as children exposed to IPV. To date there are few studies examining the interrelationships among IPV, housing instability and the impact of housing interventions on children’s well-being. The current qualitative, longitudinal study examined mothers’ perceptions of how receipt of flexible funding designed to increase their housing stability may have also impacted their children’s safety, stress, mood and behavior. Forty-two mothers in the Washington, D.C. metro area were interviewed three times over a six-month period about their own safety and housing stability, as well as their children’s. Ninety-five percent of the mothers and their children were housed at the six-month interview. Mothers described improvements in children’s stability and safety, decreases in children’s stress levels, and improvements to their mood and behavior. They also discussed the symbiotic relationship between their own stress and well-being, and their children’s. The provision of flexible funding to assist domestic violence survivors with their housing also collaterally impacted their children’s safety, stress, mood and behavior.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Notes

  1. 1.

    Two mothers were not interviewed at Time 1 but were interviewed at later time points.

  2. 2.

    Flexible fund amounts were rounded to avoid identifying survivors.

References

  1. Adams, A., Sullivan, C. M., Bybee, D., & Greeson, M. (2008). Development of the scale of economic abuse. Violence Against Women, 14(5), 563–588.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Baker, C., Billhardt, K., Warren, J., Rollins, C., & Glass, N. (2010). Domestic violence, housing instability, and homelessness: A review of housing policies and program practices for meeting the needs of survivors. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 15(6), 430–439.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bassuk, E., Richard, M., & Tsertsvadze, A. (2015). The prevalence of mental illness in homeless children: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 54(2), 86–96.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Breiding, M., Smith, S., Basile, K., Walters, M., Chen, J., Merrick, M. (2014). Prevalence and characteristics of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence victimization—National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Washington, DC. 63(8), 1.

  5. Casanueva, C., Martin, S., Runyan, D., Barth, R., & Bradley, R. (2008). Quality of maternal parenting among intimate-partner violence victims involved with the child welfare system. Journal of Family Violence, 23(6), 413–427.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Cutuli, J., Desjardins, C., Herbers, J., Long, J., Heistad, D., Chan, C., et al. (2013). Academic achievement trajectories of homeless and highly mobile students: Resilience in the context of chronic and acute risk. Child Development, 84(3), 841–857.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. DeVoe, E., & Smith, E. (2002). The impact of domestic violence on urban preschool children: Battered mothers' perspectives. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 17, 1075–1101.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Economic Stability Working Group of the Transition Subcommittee of the [Massachusetts] Governor’s Commission on Domestic Violence. (2002). Voices of survival: The economic impacts of domestic violence, A blueprint for action. Boston: Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

  9. Edidin, J., Ganim, Z., Hunter, S., & Karnik, N. (2012). The mental and physical health of homeless youth: A literature review. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 43, 354–375.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Equal Rights Center. (2008). No Vacancy. Washington. In D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Equal Rights Center. (2016). Unlocking Discrimination. Washington. In D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Fantuzzo, J., Boruch, R., Beriama, A., Atkins, M., & Marcus, S. (1997). Domestic violence and children: Prevalence and risk in five major US cities. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 36(1), 116–122.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Felitti, V., Anda, R., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D., Spitz, A., Edwards, V., et al. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14(4), 245–258.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Gewirtz, A., DeGarmo, D., & Medhanie, A. (2011). Effects of mother's parenting practices on child internalizing trajectories following partner violence. Journal of Family Psychology, 25(1), 29.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Gilroy, H., McFarlane, J., Maddoux, J., & Sullivan, C. (2016). Homelessness, housing instability, intimate partner violence, mental health, and functioning: A multi-year cohort study of IPV survivors and their children. Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, 25(2), 86–94.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Graham-Berman, S., Gruber, G., Howell, K., & Girz, L. (2009). Factors discriminating among profiles of resilience and psychopathology in children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV). Child Abuse & Neglect, 33(648), 660.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Graham-Bermann, S., Howell, K., Miller, L., Kwak, J., & Lilly, M. (2010). Traumatic events and maternal education as predictors of verbal ability for preschool children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV). Journal of Family Violence, 25(4), 383–392.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Haushofer, J., & Shapiro, J. (2013). Household response to income changes: Evidence from an unconditional cash transfer program in Kenya. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  19. Holden, G. (2003). Children exposed to domestic violence and child abuse: Terminology and taxonomy. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 6(3), 151–160.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Hungerford, A., Wait, S., Fritz, A., & Clements, C. (2012). Exposure to intimate partner violence and children's psychological adjustment, cognitive functioning, and social competence: A review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 17(4), 373–382.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Huth-Bocks, A., & Hughes, H. (2008). Parenting stress, parenting behavior, and children’s adjustment in families experiencing intimate partner violence. Journal of Family Violence, 23(4), 243–251.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University. (2013). The state of the nation’s housing. Boston, MA.

  23. Katz, E. (2015). Recovery-promoters: Ways in which children and mother support one another's recoveries from domestic violence. British Journal of Social Work, 45, 153–169.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Kernic, M., Holt, V., Wolf, M., McKnight, B., Huebner, C., & Rivara, F. (2002). Academic and school health issues among children exposed to maternal intimate partner abuse. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 156(6), 549–555.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Kitzmann, K., Gaylord, N., Holt, A., & Kenny, E. (2003). Child witnesses to domestic violence: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71(2), 339–352.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Knowles, M., Rabinowich, J., De Cuba, S., Cutts, D., & Chilton, M. (2016). “Do you wanna breathe or eat?”: Parent perspectives on child health consequences of food insecurity, trade-offs, and toxic stress. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 20(1), 25–32.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. LaPierre, S. (2010). Are abused women 'neglectful' mothers? Gender and Child Welfare in Society, 121-148.

  28. Letourneau, N., Fedick, C., & Willms, J. (2007). Mothering and domestic violence: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Family Violence, 22(8), 649–659.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Martin, E., & Stern, N. (2005). Domestic violence and public and subsidized housing: addressing the needs of battered tenants through local housing policy. Clearinghouse Review, 38, 551.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Mbilinyi, L. (2015). The Washington state domestic violence housing first program: Cohort 2 agencies final evaluation report. Seattle: Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

  31. Mbilinyi, L. & Kreiter, A. (2013a). Washington State Domestic Violence Housing First program evaluation, summary: Cohort 1 agencies. Seattle, Washington. Retrieved from WSCADV website: http://wscadv2.org/docs/dvhfcohort1evaluationsummary.pdf .

  32. Mbilinyi, L. & Kreiter, A. (2013b). Washington State Domestic Violence Housing First program evaluation, summary: Cohort 2 agencies. Seattle, Washington. Retrieved from WSCADV website: http://wscadv2.org/docs/dvhfcohort2evaluationsummary.pdf .

  33. McDonald, R., Jouriles, E., Ramisetty-Mikler, S., Caetano, R., & Green, C. (2006). Estimating the number of American children living in partner-violent families. Journal of Family Psychology, 20(1), 137.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. Miles, M., Huberman, A., & Saldana, J. (2014). Qualitative data analysis: A methods sourcebook. Incorporated: SAGE Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  35. National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (2007). Lost housing, lost safety: Survivors of domestic violence experience housing denials and evictions across the country (Retrieved February 6, 2018 https://www.nlchp.org/documents/Lost-Housing-Lost-Safety).

  36. Pavao, J., Alvarez, J., Baumrind, N., Induni, M., & Kimerling, R. (2007). Intimate partner violence and housing instability. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 32(2), 143–146.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. Perkins, K. (2017). Reconsidering residential mobility: Differential effects on child wellbeing by race and ethnicity. Social Science Research, 63, 124–137.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  38. Popkin, S., Cunningham, M., & Burt, M. (2005). Public housing transformation and the hard-to-house. Housing Policy Debate, 16(1), 1–24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Rafferty, Y., Shinn, M., & Weitzman, B. C. (2004). Academic achievement among formerly homeless adolescents and their continuously housed peers. Journal of School Psychology, 42, 179–199.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Roberts, Y., Campbell, C., Ferguson, M., & Crusto, C. (2013). The role of parenting stress in young children's mental health functioning after exposure to family violence. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 26, 605–612.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  41. Shonkoff, J., Garner, A., Siegel, B., Dobbins, M., Earls, M., McGuinn, L., et al. (2012). The lifelong effects of early childhood adversity and toxic stress. Pediatrics, 129(1), e232–e246.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  42. Sternberg, K., Baradaran, L., Abbott, C., Lamb, M., & Guterman, E. (2006). Type of violence, age, and gender differences in the effects of family violence on children’s behavior problems: A mega-analysis. Developmental Review, 26, 89–112.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Sullivan, C., & Olsen, L. (2017). Common Ground, complementary approaches: Adapting the Housing First model for domestic violence survivors. Housing and Society, 1–13.

  44. Sullivan, C., Bomsta, H., & Hacskaylo, M. (2016). Flexible funding as a promising strategy to prevent homelessness for survivors of intimate partner violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 0886260516664318.

  45. The Red Tab Foundation, (2018). List of qualifying emergencies. Retrieved from: http://redtabfoundation.org/emergency-aid/lsco-employees/#qualifying-emergencies.

  46. Thompson, T., & Massat, C. (2005). Experiences of violence, post-traumatic stress, academic achievement and behavior problems of urban African-American children. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 22(5-6), 367–393.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Wilson, P., & Laughon, K. (2015). House to house, shelter to shelter. Journal of Forensic Nursing, 11(2), 77–83.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  48. Wood, S., & Sommers, M. (2011). Consequences of intimate partner violence on child witnesses: a systematic review of the literature. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 24, 223–236.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Heather Bomsta.

Additional information

This project was made possible through generous funding from the Live to Give Charitable Trust and the Washington, D.C. Office of Victim Services.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Bomsta, H., Sullivan, C.M. IPV Survivors’ Perceptions of How a Flexible Funding Housing Intervention Impacted Their Children. J Fam Viol 33, 371–380 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-018-9972-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • flexible funding
  • intimate partner violence
  • children
  • housing instability
  • homelessness