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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Violence in the Lives of Homeless Mothers in a Substance Abuse Treatment Program: A Descriptive Study
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Substance abuse programs for homeless women would benefit from knowing the degree of victimization and violence they may encounter in the population they serve. A substance abuse treatment program for homeless mothers with young children operating over a 2-year period encountered high rates of victimization and violence. Ongoing patterns of victimization and violence in these mothers continued during their time in the program. This report presents statistical information on rates of violence and victimization in program participants, with accompanying anecdotal case detail to provide a greater appreciation of the depth and effects of the problem. The majority of the women acknowledged incidents of childhood and adult victimization. The majority also reported having engaged in adult aggressive or abusive acts, behaviors that had often begun in childhood. Implications for effective substance abuse programs in this population are discussed. (Authors)