St Mungo’s and Revolving Doors call for evidence to support homeless women

07 March 2013


Leading charities Revolving Doors and St Mungo's are working together to get the right help at the right time to homeless women who are involved with the criminal justice system.

A recent survey of St Mungo's female clients showed that 53 per cent have an offending history, and 36 per cent have served time in prison.

Catherine Hennessy, Director of Development and Partnerships at Revolving Doors, is the Expert Lead on this latest theme from the St Mungo's Rebuilding Shattered Lives campaign.

Catherine Hennessy said: "Homeless women share many common experiences with women in our penal system including past childhood trauma, mental distress and drug problems. 

"Through this campaign we want to hear from services working with female offenders and share good practice. Working together we can improve services for all vulnerable women."

Alexia Murphy is St Mungo's organisational lead on women's services. She said: "Our Rebuilding Shattered Lives campaign is about encouraging those concerned about women and homelessness to get involved so we can better ensure we get the right help to women, at the right time.

"We particularly want to hear about specialist services for women who are on probation, coming out of prison or currently going through criminal proceedings; rehabilitation services specifically working with women; and, partnerships between prison or police services and homelessness services that are working well for women.  We are also interested to hear from services which do not specialise in working with offenders, but whose clients include women who have been in contact with the criminal justice system."

Visit to submit evidence to the campaign. The current theme runs until 26 April 2013.

Rebuilding Shattered Lives is focusing initially on nine different themes over 18 months to gather evidence and examples from women and organisations about the complexity of problems around women's homelessness. Other themes include children and families, trauma, prostitution and mental health.


Notes to editors

For more information contact Bobbie Lakhera on 020 8762 5570 or email

St Mungo's opens doors for homeless people across London and the South. Each night the charity provides accommodation for over 1,700 homeless and vulnerable people. Around a quarter of these clients are women and St Mungo's runs two women only hostels in London as well as sector-leading projects that help women with complex problems recover and rebuild their lives.

Why is St Mungo's focusing on women?

Existing homelessness provision has traditionally been designed for men, yet research shows that homeless women have both more complex and more severe needs than homeless men and can become homeless for a number of different reasons, and as a result of a range of traumatic experiences such as domestic violence, time spent in custody, or having their children taken into care.

A 2012 survey of St Mungo's female clients shows that:

  • 66 per cent have a mental health problem
  • 55 per cent have a substance use need (either drugs and/or alcohol)
  • Half have a significant physical medical condition
  • More than one in ten have a history of being in care

Within England, over half of those living in temporary accommodation are women (DCLG 2012, live tables on homelessness).

The campaign's nine themes over 18 months will be:

  • Housing and homelessness - services for women with complex needs
  • Domestic abuse and sexual violence
  • Children and families: improving support
  • Childhood trauma, including being in care or childhood abuse
  • Employment and skills
  • Being involved in prostitution
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Substance use
  • Women involved in the criminal justice system

A group of experts, each with exceptional levels of knowledge and experience, are supporting the campaign across each of these different themes. They are:

  • Martin Barnes, Chief Executive, DrugScope
  • Jacqui Dillon, Independent Trauma Specialist
  • Catherine Hennessy, Director of Development and Partnerships, Revolving Doors
  • Davina James-Hanman, Director, AVA
  • Jacqui McCluskey, Director of Policy and Communications, Homeless Link
  • Deborah Mattinson, Chair, Platform 51
  • Baroness Stedman-Scott, Chief Executive, Tomorrow's People
  • Dame Clare Tickell, Chief Executive, Action for Children

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