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  • Adult Children Exposed to Domestic Violence
  • Runaway & Homeless Youth Toolkit
  • Prevent Intimate Partner Violence
  • Violence Against Women Resource Library
  • Domestic Violence and Housing Technical Assistance Consortium
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Project
  • Building Comprehensive Solutions
  • National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

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An Online Resource Library on Gender-Based Violence.

Entering the Shelter

For many victims of domestic violence, leaving their homes and communities to enter a domestic violence shelter, usually with small children, no transportation, and little to no income, is extremely difficult. Victims and their children are likely coping with the recent, direct effects of the abuse and isolation to which they have been subjected. As they join other families in the shelter, differences in coping styles, eating preferences and habits, ideas about personal hygiene and approaches to housekeeping, as well as child rearing and discipline, can create fertile ground for conflicts to arise. Differences in race, ethnicity, and class, as well as languages and communication styles used – along with the temporary nature of living in the shelter – can all lead to misunderstandings and disagreements. As one Shelter Study respondent observed: “Community living—multiple personalities put in a living situation, some will get along well with others, some won’t” (Lyon et al., 2008, p. 84). Conflicts can arise not only among shelter residents, but also between shelter staff and residents, and between staff members who disagree on how best to work with and advocate for individual survivors.