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Domestic Squalor

What is Severe Domestic Squalor?

Severe domestic squalor refers to extremely filthy living conditions which result from the extensive, ongoing failure to remove household rubbish and other waste, such as rotting food, and animal and human waste. This results in extreme odour, extensive mould, significant vermin and other pest infestations.

Even though a person lives in a squalid environment, this does not always mean that the person is neglecting their own personal hygiene.


Who has these behaviours and what do we know?

  • Severe domestic squalor:

  • across all ages

  • all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds

  •  be of any gender or sexual orientation

  • single or couples

  •  work in a broad range of careers or job roles

People who live in squalid environments often have some significant challenge to cognitive functioning. Diogenes, dementia, an acquired brain injury, brain damage from significant drug or alcohol abuse, or a chronic psychiatric condition such as schizophrenia, may be found in those who live in these conditions.

People who live in squalor often experience significant self-neglect. This includes a lack of care for personal hygiene and health – but as stated earlier this is not always the case.


Those living in squalor are often vulnerable, marginalised and isolated. They also usually lack awareness of their condition, are highly suspicious of others and are significantly threatened by/actively oppose intervention.

The conclusion that someone is living in squalor can also be very subjective – what one person sees as filthy living conditions someone else may not think it isn’t ‘that bad’.

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Severe Domestic Squalor

Shocking video of actual homes, affected by severe  domestic squalor

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