Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Information for Professionals

Social Services

Domestic Violence Training for Homeless Shelter Staff


Domestic violence is a major cause of homelessness, particularly for families with children.1 Recent national research shows that 20% of women residing in homeless shelters had current or prior experience with domestic violence. “Shelters provide immediate safety to battered women and their children and help women gain control over their lives. The provision of safe emergency shelter is thus a necessary first step in meeting the needs of women fleeing domestic violence.” 3 Staff training is an important part of enhancing the homeless shelters' response to families affected by domestic violence.

New Curriculum

The NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV), under contract with the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, has been conducting training for homeless shelter staff since 2001. The new curriculum offers participants the opportunity to interact in the classroom through experiential learning. They do so by participating in an exercise that allows them to "walk in the shoes" of a domestic violence survivor who is navigating the system to find support and safety for her children and herself. The development of the curriculum was informed in part by the following:

Training Description

Contact Information:

  1. Family Violence Prevention Fund. The Facts on Housing and Domestic Violence. Document accessed July 6, 2007.
  2. Joan Zorza, “Woman Battering: A Major Cause of Homelessness,” Special Issue 1991
  3. National Coalition for the Homeless. Domestic Violence and Homelessness NCH Fact Sheet #7. June 2006
  4. National Alliance to End Homelessness