Research: "Stuck in Limbo" Experiences of women in Greater Manchester on surviving domestic abuse, homelessness and a housing system not working for them


At Shelter we know that women fleeing domestic abuse can often face homelessness due to many barriers in accessing a place they feel comfortable, safe and free from harm. This can make it more difficult to escape.

It’s important we provide the right housing response to tackle domestic abuse because it’s a major trigger of homelessness. Yet, crucially, the experiences of survivors are rarely sought in wider debates about housing and homelessness, let alone heard or acted upon.

With this in mind, we created a joint research project in which we explored the experiences of women who have survived domestic abuse and then in turn had to survive homelessness and bad housing.

Shelter’s Research team worked collaboratively with the Women’s Voices Movement, a group of women with shared experiences of multiple and complex needs facilitated by Inspiring Change Manchester (ICM). Working with local women in Manchester helped us to understand the very real, lived experiences of domestic abuse and housing problems, drawing ourselves more closely to their lives and the situations they face in a process of collaboration, learning and ‘voice building’.

The report maps out the women's journeys towards securing safe, stable homes away from the abusive environment. It highlights barriers the women faced to accessing support needed for their housing, and outlines a series of recommendations for how services could be better designed to help women affected by domestic abuse with their housing issues.