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.
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Two mothers were not interviewed at Time 1 but were interviewed at later time points.
Flexible fund amounts were rounded to avoid identifying survivors.
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This project was made possible through generous funding from the Live to Give Charitable Trust and the Washington, D.C. Office of Victim Services.
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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
- flexible funding
- intimate partner violence
- housing instability