People with mental illness are more likely to have histories of physical and sexual abuse, and this is especially true for women. Studies have shown that 20-50% of women in psychiatric settings have histories of past physical or sexual assault (eg, Rosenberg, Drake & Mueser 1996). Violence can be from partners (Mowbray et al 2003), family members, police and relative strangers. Violence, threat of violence and fear of violence are serious stressors with a major impact on wellbeing. Determining and eliminating exposure to violence are essential as the trauma of a violent attack is a potential trigger of relapse. Of special significance, unsafe housing arrangements may expose people to violence, reinforcing the importance of safe and appropriate accommodation for people with mental illness.