A new brief from Generation Hope, an organization focused on student parents, calls attention to how domestic violence can affect these students and hurt their studies.
The brief, released Monday, notes that 40 of the 200 young parents who participated in the organization’s college support program in the 2023–24 academic year reported that they “have witnessed or experienced intimate partner, family, or sexual violence.” It also cites a 2018 report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, which found that 66 percent of intimate partner violence survivors said the experience waylaid their academic progress, and 44 percent reported having to drop or retake one or more classes because of the abuse.
“Through this report, we hope to shed light on something we see every day at Generation Hope—student parents are often more likely to experience intimate partner violence, adding another significant hurdle to earning a postsecondary credential while already being severely under-supported within various systems—including higher education,” Nicole Lynn Lewis, founder and CEO of Generation Hope, said in a press release.
The brief recommends that campuses support student parents who may have experienced abuse by ensuring mental health counseling services are accessible to students who may have financial and time constraints, and having “family-friendly spaces” on campus where parents can take their children in an emergency, among other suggestions.
“We want policymakers and institutional leaders to see the importance of removing barriers to accessing resources and creating safer, more supportive environments for these students,” Lewis said. “As a survivor of intimate partner violence and a former student parent, I know that my story is not unique. The end goal is to ensure that no student parent has to walk this difficult path alone.”