This research project aims to address the lack of knowledge in Canada regarding the connection between housing and gender-based violence. The research deepens our understanding about this relationship, providing support for policy recommendations that offer pathways to housing security for women and gender-nonconforming people affected by gender-based violence. Five community case studies offer lessons in charting routes from unsafe home to shelter to permanent safe housing.
3 Key Goals
Understand how housing affordability in Ontario prevents women and gender-nonconforming people from leaving situations of intimate partner violence.
Assess how different housing market conditions affect the ability of women and gender-nonconforming people to leave domestic partnerships.
Assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pathways out of abusive homes.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Filling the gap in knowledge about housing and gender-based violence
Gender-based violence and related intimate partner violence is a widespread problem in Canada. Since violence often occurs within domestic partnerships, a significant proportion likely takes place at home.
Women, gender-nonconforming people and low-income groups are distinctly vulnerable to this violence, since they often have few options to leave home and literally nowhere to go. These groups face alarming levels of violence while experiencing disproportionate levels of poverty and core housing need.
This research will fill an important knowledge gap in understanding the relationship between gender-based violence and housing insecurity by addressing 3 research questions:
- How does the lack of affordable housing prevent women and gender-diverse people from leaving a situation of intimate partner violence?
- How do different market conditions affect the ability of women and gender-diverse people to leave domestic partnerships?
- How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect pathways out of abusive homes?
Research to include interviews, surveys, GIS mapping
The 12-month research project will be divided into 4 phases of 3 months each:
- Phase 1 covers foundational research, including a literature review and environmental scan. This will focus on outlining the current state of research on access to housing for women and gender-nonconforming people experiencing gender-based violence.
- Phase 2 collects additional data about the pathways, obstacles and opportunities for peoples to get out of abusive homes and into stable housing. The project will use interviews with service providers working with people affected by gender-based violence. It will do this through an online and in-person survey of clients in women’s shelters. An analysis of housing market conditions will include Geographic Information System mapping to understand geographies that are particularly unaffordable for women and gender-diverse people living in abusive situations.
- Phase 3 will analyze the data collected in Phase 2, with key findings from the literature review, environmental scan, interviews and survey. This analysis will lead to drafting a public report and policy recommendations for municipal, provincial and federal governments.
- Phase 4 will turn the knowledge collected into action. Deliverables include a final project report and a public launch of the report findings. These will be accompanied by workshop and mobilization activities. A press release and media toolkit will encourage wide sharing of the report.
Finding the path to housing security
The research will offer guidance on pathways to housing security for women and gender-nonconforming people affected by gender-based violence in Ontario. Lessons learned are also expected to be relevant to other jurisdictions in Canada. The result will be:
- Specific policy recommendations for each level of government: municipal, provincial and federal.
- A toolkit that includes an interactive map and activities such as workshops to help advocates, policymakers, researchers and other stakeholders address the issue of gender-based violence and housing insecurity.
Program: NHS Research and Planning Fund
Activity Stream: Research Project
Title of the Research: Nowhere to Go: Gender-Based Violence and Housing Insecurity in Ontario
Lead Applicant: Canadian Centre for Housing Rights
Project Collaborators / Partners:
- The Joint Chair in Women’s Studies (the University of Ottawa and Carleton University)
- Canadian Women’s Foundation
Research Project Web Page: https://housingrightscanada.com
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