Almost as many children as women live in refuges, but research on this marginalised group of children is scarce. This article overviews and summarises existing quantitative and qualitative data to examine what we know about children in refuges in a Nordic context (Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden). The literature shows that focus on children at the refuges is gradually increasing. However, major discrepancies among the Nordic countries exist in terms of which data are collected (if any), how it is presented, and what services and help are provided to children. The article also identifies and discusses some of the challenges faced by children with multiple stays at refuges: their prolonged exposure to domestic violence, disruptions in close relationships and repeated disruptions in preschool and school attendance. The available literature suggests reason for concern in regard to the risks of developing social and psychological difficulties, limited access to resources that can help develop resilience to violence, and school failure and drop-out. The article calls for further research on this particularly vulnerable group of children.
This article sheds light on the situation of children in refuges for abused women in the Nordic countries, with a special focus on children with multiple stays.