Segmented journeys, fragmented lives: women's forced migration to escape domestic violence

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Women's journeys to escape domestic violence can be understood both as active strategies to achieve safety, and as a forced migration during which women experience both force from the abuser, and the impact of agencies and authorities. This article explores the diverse trajectories of individual women's journeys from abuse, drawing on a mixed methods research project within the United Kingdom. It involved analysis and mapping of six years of administrative data from housing-related support services, interviews with 20 women in seven locations in the Midlands, Southern England and London, groupwork with nine women in the Midlands and South Coast, surveys with 34 women in domestic violence services and on 267 calls to the National Domestic Violence Helpline, and interviews with workers in services in eight locations. Drawing on 20 women's narratives and journey graphs over time and distance, the article presents details of three women's journeys to illustrate how complex, segmented journeys are often made more fragmented by aspects of policy and practice. More effective responses could mean that women and children only make the journeys that are strictly necessary, and are more smoothly and swiftly able to move to where they can settle and rebuild their fragmented lives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-60
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Gender-Based Violence
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • abused women
  • risk
  • needs
  • housing
  • mobility

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