Mapping the social relations of violence and homelessness in the everyday lives of women: An institutional ethnography

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Boudreau, Michelle
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Intimate partner violence against women is still a common occurrence and it leads to women being vulnerable to experiencing homelessness. This study mapped the social relations organizing women’s everyday experiences with homelessness after leaving an abusive relationship. Institutional ethnography directed this research. Data collection consisted of three components. The first component was five face-to-face unstructured, interactive interviews with women who left an abusive relationship and experienced homelessness. The second component was 13 face-to-face semi-structured interviews with service providers from organizations the women indicated they utilized. This component explicated how the service providers organized the women’s everyday experiences with securing housing. The third and final component was a textual analysis of the policies and programs from the organizations identified by the women. Results identified the ruling relations that coordinated the women’s homelessness. The interviews indicated that money was the main organizing factor in coordinating their homelessness. The other coordinating factor was limited amounts of affordable, adequate housing. Findings suggest many organizations are coordinating the homelessness experienced by women leaving abusive relationships. Lines of fault were discovered between the women’s everyday experiences and the organizations and service providers in place to address homelessness. These lines of faults are maintained through ruling relations which prevent women from participating in the development of policies and programs they will be utilizing.The consequences of homelessness have serious implications for both women and society. Changes that are implemented must focus on long-term change and be inclusive of the individuals experiencing homelessness. Recommendations from this study are directed at government, service providers, and society in general. The results will inform policy and program changes within government and non-government organizations that support women leaving abusive relationships.
Intimate partner violence , Homelessness -- women