While trauma-informed practices have become more widely used across social services, the recognition of intersecting trauma and the integration of anti-racism remains a gap within and across sectors. Trauma from gender-based violence, community violence, and racism are compounded, and discrimination and fear of discrimination can be a barrier to accessing services. 

This project will enhance the capacity of organizations to respond to the needs of Black women survivors of gender-based violence who are experiencing racism and trauma, by offering culturally safe frontline services. The project will collaborate with stakeholders to incorporate principles of anti-racism and trauma-informed practice, thereby improving service delivery and access for Black and racialized survivors of gender-based violence.

Housing is critical to survivors’ safety, and there are opportunities for housing providers and landlords to develop policies and practices to protect the tenancies and safety of survivors.

Survivors’ experiences with landlords and private rental housing are examined in this infographic, along with their preferred safety solutions. 


How can rental housing work better for survivors? Gender-based violence is a common cause of homelessness among women and gender-diverse people in Toronto and survivors face unique challenges to housing. 

This research report examines what it takes to support survivors as successful renters. The report contains findings from community-based research undertaken with women and gender-diverse people who have experienced gender-based violence and currently live in or are trying to access private rental housing in Toronto. The report shares their experiences and unique challenges to housing, including hidden homelessness, discrimination from landlords, and income insecurity. 


Survivors living in private rental housing are faring worse than other Toronto renters.

The infographic looks at the living conditions of survivors, financial limitations, and eviction related to gender-based violence and rental housing barriers. 


Measures put in place to mitigate COVID-19, such as stay at home orders, have put families experiencing intimate partner violence at greater risk. In particular, young women and women with children have been identified at greater risk for increased violence, housing instability, and decreased service provision.

The project will investigate patterns of violence and housing instability, and examine changes to experiences and services during the pandemic. The project will undertake a realist informed review of literature and conduct primary research. The project will also work closely with survivors to create digital narratives. Using the knowledge created, the project will build collaboration with policy makers, service providers and other knowledge users.

Research opportunity

We’re seeking women with lived of experience of violence who accessed services during the pandemic to participate in a research study. Participation involves a one-hour interview and participants will receive $100 honorarium for their engagement. Email research@womanact.ca if you are interested in participating or would like to discuss the study further.

Research flyer

The Successful Tenancies project is working to improve women’s access to, and experience in, the private rental housing market in Toronto.

Gender-based violence is a common cause of homelessness among women and gender-diverse people in Toronto. A lack of access to safe and affordable housing is a key barrier to women and gender-diverse people’s safety. It can prevent them from leaving violent situations or lead them into precarious housing situations. Women face a range of barriers to accessing housing in the private rental market, including affordability and discrimination.

The project will undertake research into survivors’ experiences in navigating the private rental market in Toronto. Using this knowledge, the project will build the capacity of landlords and housing providers to increase access to, and better meet the needs of, survivors of gender-based violence. The project will also use the knowledge created to build partnerships across community and housing sectors.

The right to housing is more than just a roof over one’s head. It is the right to safe, affordable and permanent housing. Survivors living in violent situations are experiencing a violation to their right to housing. Survivors are also at a high risk of homelessness and face a range of barriers to obtaining housing.

This infographic highlights the connections between right to housing, violence against women and homelessness.


Violations of the right to housing are largely gendered, with women and gender-diverse people more likely to experience inadequate housing and homelessness. The right to housing is defined as all individuals having the right to safe and adequate housing. As such, women living in violent homes are also experiencing a direct violation of their right to housing.

This issue brief explores the connections between the right to housing and violence against women. The brief looks at the connections between homelessness and violence and the key barriers to survivors obtaining safe, adequate and permanent housing.


Most of the housing options for women experiencing intimate partner violence have something in common: they place the onus on women to leave home in order to reach safety. As a result, survivors of intimate partner violence routinely face housing instability, homelessness, and significant life disruptions in areas like employment, education and social connections.

This research report draws on qualitative data gathered through surveys, interviews and focus groups with survivors. The report explores survivors’ housing options and preferences when fleeing violence. The report also discusses the policies, programs and practices that support women to remain in their own home or independent housing when leaving a violent relationship.


The Intersections between employment and safety among racialized women project is undertaking research to understand racialized women’s experiences in employment and how these are impacted by experiences of gender-based violence.

Canada’s labour market is gendered, racialized and consistently unequal. Labour market statistics show that racialized women are disproportionately impacted by these inequalities. Racialized women face unique barriers in employment which directly impacts their economic security. There is a strong connection between women’s employment, economic security and safety which is often overlooked. This project seeks to understand and highlight the intersections of these experiences.

The project will conduct a literature review, conduct community-based research on women’s lived experiences and involve key stakeholders in discussions for best practice and solutions. Using this new research, the project will engage partners to implement strategies that address barriers faced by survivors in employment. The project will also develop a policy strategy and advocate for organizational and system-level change that will address barriers to employment for racialized women with experience of violence.