Collecting information on domestic violence is needed because learning if a person is a survivor of or fleeing from domestic violence, provides our clients with the appropriate services to prevent further abuse and to treat the physical and psychological injuries from prior abuse. Also ascertaining that a person may be experiencing domestic violence raises safety concerns for project staff and other clients. 

At the aggregate level, knowing the size of the population of persons experiencing homelessness who have also experienced domestic violence is critical for determining the resources needed to address the problem. 

Data Collection Instructions

In the program enrollment screen, indicate (1) if the client is a survivor of domestic violence, (2) when the experience occurred, and (3) if the client is currently fleeing domestic violence.

Any domestic violence records created at project start are to reflect as accurately as possible the information as of the date of project start.

A domestic violence record must be created at any time during a project stay if a client's domestic violence status changes. This can completed in the Status Update Assessment.

If a client's domestic violence status was recorded incorrectly at project start, correct the existing program enrecord. Verification is not necessary unless it is specifically required for project eligibility, in which case documentation requirements established by the funder should be followed. 

Projects should be especially sensitive to the collection of domestic violence information from clients and should implement appropriate interview protocols to protect client privacy and safety such as:

  • asking about domestic violence in a private location and not in the presence of a romantic partner;
  • delaying all entry about clients identified with a recent history of domestic violence;
  • choosing not to disclose data about clients with a history of domestic violence to other homeless projects

Projects may wish to consult with specialized staff with training in trauma-informed care, safety needs, or other population-specific considerations. 

If clients are providing inconsistent information (e.g., indicating they are currently fleeing an abusive situation but their response to "When experience occurred" is "One year ago or more"), staff should clarify the client's statements. Staff can help clients understand that the definition of a domestic violence experience includes "dangerous...conditions that relate to violence against the individual or a family member," which is broader than a specific violent episode. There are situations where the act of fleeing takes place weeks or months after a particular violent episode, but the conditions within the home remain dangerous. With this clarification, the staff and client together can determine the best response for "When experience occurred."

More Resources

For more detailed and the most up-to-date information regarding HUD required HMIS Program Data Elements, please find the Data Standards Manual here: HMIS Data Standards - HUD Exchange.

Contact Us

If you need help, or wish to offer suggestions or feedback, please contact the Cincinnati/Hamilton County HMIS support team at HMISsupport@end-homelessness.org or by calling 513-263-2790 9:00am - 3:00pm Monday-Friday (excluding holidays).

When contacting HMIS Support, please do not include any Personal Identifiable Information (PII) such as names, social security numbers, birth dates, etc. Please only use the Clarity Unique Identifier found on the Clarity client profile page.