Homeless Women and Victimization: Abuse and Mental Health History Among Homeless Rape Survivors

Using the database of a hospital-based sexual assault care centre, this study examined data about previous and current victimization from homeless women clients and compared them to data from housed women clients. More homeless women than housed women reported childhood physical abuse, childhood sexual abuse, adult physical assault, previous sexual assault in adulthood, and a history of mental health problems. Among homeless women, 78.5 percent reported at least one previous incident of victimization; 23.7 percent said they had experienced all four types of violence. Of the recent sexual assaults for which the women were treated at the centre, those against the homeless women were more violent, and were more often perpetrated outdoors, by a stranger. Ramifications for treatment and prevention of abuse and homelessness are discussed.

Publication Date: