Children and Young People in Domestic Violence Shelters

  • Amy ChanmugamEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Geographies of Children and Young People book series (GCYP, volume 12)


Many residents of emergency domestic violence (DV) shelters are children and young people accompanying their mothers, with research in some countries finding that the majority of DV shelter residents are children. Residents of emergency DV shelters are there seeking safety from violence in their homes and intimate relationships, and they often lack other financial and social resources that could provide housing and support. Emergency shelters (also known as refuges or havens) were one of the first forms of DV intervention, established by grassroots activists in the 1970s with the goal of providing victims with immediate safety in temporary lodging. This chapter describes children and young people in emergency DV shelters and uses several frameworks, including historical and social, to examine shelters and child experiences within them. The chapter describes the role of shelters in service provision, with details on types of services, programming, the built environment, community locations of shelters, and approaches to facilitating access to schools. Child and youth perspectives on living in the shelter are highlighted. Shelter life presents them with both opportunities and risks. Challenges are discussed related to service provision, the built environment, resources, staffing, gaps in the knowledge base, and preventing root causes of child homelessness and exposure to adult intimate partner violence. The chapter concludes by outlining practices and policies that might mitigate challenges.


“Building Dignity” website Domestic violence (DV) emergency shelters Advocacy efforts Annual point-in-time surveys Best-practice protocols Built environment Child spaces Children and young people perspectives Educational needs Children exposed to domestic violence Funding Home Homelessness Intersecting vulnerabilities Intimate partner violence Psychological well-being Refuges Research gaps Root cause prevention Safe temporary places Safety planning Services Shelter rules Shelter staffing Supportive programs Women Global Network of Women’s Shelters Greenbook McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women of 1993 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Public Policy, Department of Social WorkThe University of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA

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