Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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February – March 2024 : The little things READ ONLINE


Her story: What now?

As homelessness rises and more women are rough sleeping, it’s time for a gender specific approach. Report by Jean Hindry

The shame. The stigma. The torment. And this is without the violence, trauma, alcohol, drugs and sexual abuse that homeless women can face on a regular basis. Women have very complex needs, and more often than not, their needs are not met or understood by politicians and service providers. The Pavement has found it extremely difficult to find any statistics relating specifically to women.

“Women experiencing homelessness are typically less visible on the streets than men, more likely to be hidden homeless, and more likely to have experienced trauma and abuse both before and during homelessness, including separation from children. Yet, despite women’s unique and complex experience of homelessness, very few homelessness services are gender specific and responsive to women’s multiple disadvantages and needs, which may make it more difficult for women to access the support they need,” says Lisa Raferty of Homeless Link, the national membership charity for services working directly with people experiencing homelessness.

Homeless Link is clear that to change this situation there has to be a gender specific approach to women rough sleeping, those suffering with mental health, substance abuse and women without dependent children.


In a nutshell

• At least 20% of the homeless community are women. But the number could be far higher as many women are hidden homeless. Safe Lives: homelessness and abuse among street sex-working women in Bristol
• Globally more women aged 15–44 are at risk from rape or domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria. World Bank data (Groundswell)
• 2 women are killed each week by a current or former partner in England and Wales. Office for National Statistics 2016 (Groundswell)
• Surveys show that although 66% of homeless women have slept rough, only 12% had been in contact with a rough sleeper team. Women and homelessness: putting gender back on the agenda Kesia Reeve (Sheffield Hallam University)