From 2018 research by Dr Julie Moschion (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research0 and Professor Jan van Ours (Faculty of Business and Economics).
Quote: “Over two years, this unique study tracked the movements of 1700 Australians who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. “Of the participants who had experienced homelessness in their life, 62 per cent identified family breakdown or conflict as the main reason for becoming homeless in the first place,” Dr Moschion said. We knew then from the interviews that the majority of participants felt that their parents’ separation played a critical role, but this study provides the evidence to support that.”
For those working with separating parents, this will come as no surprise but its little known amongst the general population. Homelessness, generally seen and therefore as a standalone issue, is in fact in the majority driven by family breakdown. We are not dealing with the primary cause, only the after effect.
This is important to understand because we tend to deal with homelessness as if it were a problem that needed to be fixed only once it has occurred.
This is doubly important since suicide drivers are used to develop intervention strategy, and relationship breakdown still does not feature as the major factor driving suicide in Australia – that despite it being linked to the largest single group of suicides. Add homelessness into the mix, which this study does, and the picture about the impact of relationship breakdown starts to expand.
All this before we get into other suicide causal factors such as substance abuse, economic hardship and social exclusion, all of which also link heavily to a primary factor of relationship breakdown.