Examining women's agency in managing intimate partner violence and the related risk of homelessness: The role of harm minimisation

Silke Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Intimate partner violence (IPV) has a detrimental impact on women and children's emotional, physical and social well-being and has been identified as one of the most common contributors to women's experiences of housing instabilities and homelessness. Women affected by IPV often experience a great level of uncertainty around housing solutions when trying to leave an abusive partner. This study explores women's responses to IPV and the related risk of homelessness through women's narratives (n = 22) in Queensland, Australia. Of particular interest are women's decisions and actions to minimise the impact of IPV as well as homelessness on their and their children's safety and well-being. Findings reveal that women's agency in relation to harm minimisation can take various forms, including the decision to stay with, leave or return to an abusive partner. The data offer insights into women's strategic attempts to manage IPV and the related risk of homeless while trying to minimise the harm associated with one and the other. Implications for understanding women's agency in managing IPV and the related risk of homelessness and providing adequate support mechanisms to improve women and children's social, emotional and physical well-being are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-210
Number of pages13
JournalGlobal Public Health
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • agency
  • children
  • homelessness
  • intimate partner violence
  • women

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