Journeyscapes: the regional scale of women’s domestic violence journeys

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Tens of thousands of women and children are forced to relocate in the UK to escape domestic violence in a mass of individual and hidden journeys. As Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the UK, the state should have duties to minimise their losses, and support their resettlement; but such duties are not currently acknowledged at either local or national scale. The scale of government is crucial in understanding – and potentially addressing – this failure; and the gendered and spatial inequalities that result. Domestic violence services – such as women’s refuges – are generally provided at the scale of local government; whereas women commonly cross administrative boundaries to seek help. Women who stay put, remain local or go elsewhere as part of their help-seeking strategies need different types of services; highlighting the service infrastructure that should be developed to address their rights and needs. This article presents analysis of administrative data from services – over 180,000 records of service access by women in England over 8 years – highlighting the patterns of flows between local authorities and within regions; and concluding with the inappropriateness of focusing service responses on the local authority scale. It uses this evidence to argue for policy and practice changes that could journeyscape the current service landscape to ensure a more effective response, based on the rights and needs of women and children. An overview of Part 4 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 is presented to indicate how it fails to address the regional and national scale of women’s domestic violence journeys.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-235
Number of pages17
JournalPeople, Place and Policy
Issue number3
Early online date11 Nov 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Nov 2022


  • human rights
  • service provision
  • local government
  • help-seeking strategies
  • Domestic Abuse Act 2021

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