Establishing stability: exploring the meaning of ‘home’ for women who have experienced intimate partner violence

There is evidence that involuntary housing instability may undermine health and well-being. For women who have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV), achieving stability is likely as important for other groups, but can be challenging. Through our analysis of 41 interviews with women who have experienced low income and IPV, we argue that definitions of housing stability are multifaceted and for many centred on a shared understanding of the importance of creating an environment of “home”. We found that obtaining housing that satisfied material needs was important to women. However, in asking women to define what housing stability meant to them, we found that other factors related to ontological security and the home, such as safety, community, and comfort, contributed to women’s experiences of stability. Through our discussion of the importance these women placed on establishing stable homes, we argue that future research on women’s experiences with housing stability and IPV should include definitions of stability that capture both material security and women’s experiences with building emotionally stable homes.

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Journal of Housing and the Built Environment
Ontario, Canada