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.


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

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