Nowhere to go: Gender-based violence and housing insecurity in Ontario

November 28, 2023

The Canadian Centre for Housing Rights is conducting a research project to address the knowledge gap that exists in Canada about housing and gender-based violence (GBV), with generous support from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s National Housing Strategy Research and Planning Fund.

Through this project, we aim to produce new knowledge and deepen an understanding about the relationship between GBV and housing insecurity, in order to inform policy recommendations that offer pathways to housing security for women and gender-diverse people who have been impacted by GBV.  

Gender-based violence (GBV) and intimate partner/interpersonal violence (IPV) are pervasive problems in Canada, with Statistics Canada reporting that 44% of Canadian women have experienced some form of GBV/IPV in their lifetime. Unfortunately, many times when someone experiences violence in their home, the onus is on them to leave the home in order to escape the violence. In many cases survivors are faced with housing insecurity after leaving their home, in large part due to a lack of safe, appropriate and affordable housing. This presents a key barrier to the right to housing for women and gender-diverse people, who disproportionately experience GBV/IPV and related housing insecurity.  

Project background 

While there is extensive literature on GBV in Canada, a knowledge gap exists in understanding the relationship between GBV and housing insecurity. To address this knowledge gap, this project examines the relationship between GBV and housing insecurity in five Ontario communities: Toronto, Ottawa, Peterborough, Thunder Bay and Lanark County. By conducting interviews with service providers and surveys with survivors, this project endeavors to illustrate the ways in which the ongoing crisis of housing affordability in Ontario is impacting survivors’ pathways out of violent homes.  

The project to date

An advisory committee has been assembled to assist in guiding this project, which includes Dr. Carolyn Whitzman, as well as team members from WomanACT and the Canadian Women’s Foundation. In the coming months, the project team will carry out data collection and compile findings in a report. This project has received ethics approval from the Community Research Ethics Office.

How to contribute

For service providers 

We are seeking participation from service providers to help us better understand how survivors in your community are being affected by high housing costs. 

We invite you to participate in a one-hour interview if you are: 

  • A service provider who assists survivors of gender-based violence or intimate partner violence 
  • Located in Toronto, Ottawa, Peterborough, Thunder Bay or Lanark County 

To participate, please fill out the form below.


For survivors of gender-based violence 

We are seeking participation from survivors of gender-based violence to complete a 15-minute online survey to help us better understand how a lack of affordable housing is affecting survivors’ pathways out of homes in which they are experiencing violence.  

We invite you to participate in our survey if you are: 

  • A woman or gender diverse person who has experienced housing insecurity due to gender-based violence/intimate partner violence 
  • Over the age of 18 
  • Located in Toronto, Ottawa, Peterborough, Thunder Bay or Lanark County 

If you participate in our study, you will be compensated with a $20 Amazon gift card in acknowledgement of your expertise. 


For anyone who would like to support this project 

Please get in touch with our project team to find out how you can help distribute information about this study among your networks. 


Acknowledgements

This project is generously supported by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s National Housing Strategy Research and Planning Fund.


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