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Insert your logo here      Migrant Women and Homelessness in                    Ireland:       The Role of Gender-based Vi...
Acknowledgments   Homeless women participants and service    providers.   Funders:      Irish Research Council for the ...
Contextualising Immigration into Ireland   Ireland traditionally has a history of emigration.   ‘Celtic Tiger’ economic ...
Ireland’s Homeless Population   Counted In (2008): 407 non-nationals, asylum seeker    and refugees using homeless servic...
Women and Homelessness in Ireland:     A Biographical Pathways Analysis   Biographical Interviews with 60 Homeless    Wom...
Age of Homeless Women (n=60)       EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in         ...
Living Situations of the Women (n=60)            EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE      Homelessness, Migration and Demographic...
Violence during Childhood (n=60)    46 of the women (76%physical, sexual or emotional abuse )      either witnessed or dir...
Violence during Adulthood (n=60)   50 women (83%) had experienced some form of violence during    adulthood.   27 women ...
Immigrant Women in the Sample (n=17) 17 Immigrant Women Interviewed (28% of           sample)          Countries of Origin...
Profile of the Migrant Women   Ranged in age from 25-52 years (mean 33 years).   Living in Ireland from between 1 and 10...
Migrant Women:Living Situations at Time of Interview               Rough Sleeping     Friends         1        1          ...
Photo taken by Delilah (Age 30) of her shared living quarterin temporary emergency accommodation, where she liveswith her ...
Migrant Women’s                Experiences of Violence   15 of the 17 migrant women had experienced violence.   14 of th...
Migrant Women’s Pathways to                   Homelessness   10 of the migrant women attributed their    homelessness dir...
Migrant Women’s Pathways to                   HomelessnessOther Reasons for Homelessness (n=7) :    Financial difficultie...
Case Study: Bina’s Story (32 years)   Born in Asian country; Hindu origin   Highly educated – third level qualification...
Bina’s Homeless Journey (31-32 years                     old)   Domestic violence and abuse escalated after migrating to ...
Women Negotiating Violence in their                HomesBarriers to Exiting Violent Home Situations High level of economi...
Women’s Narratives on Help Seeking   No/little knowledge about services: “didn’t know the system”.“I had no idea a place ...
Barriers to Exiting Homelessness   Lack of affordable housing: ‘stuck’ or ‘trapped’ in    emergency homeless/DV accommoda...
Conclusion   Violence a prominent theme in the life stories of migrant women; many    attrtibuted their homelessness to t...
Photo taken                                                    by Delilah                                                 ...
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Migrant Women and Homelessness in Ireland: The Role of Gender-Based Violence

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Presentation given by Paula Mayock, Sarah Sheridan, Ireland, at a FEANTSA Research Conference on "Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe", Pisa, Italy, 2011

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  • Contextualising Immigration into Ireland Following a sustained period of outward migration that began in the 1800’s, the mid 1990’s saw a substantial influx of non-nationals into the country alongside the economic boom or ‘Celtic Tiger’ (IOM, 2010) These migration patterns have significantly shaped Ireland’s socio-demographic landscape, with over half the population growth in Ireland being attributed to migration in the last decade (NESC, 2006) The Central Statistics Office (2006) reported that that there were 612,000 people resident in Ireland who were non-nationals, this amounts to 15% of the population up from 10% in 2002 and 7% in 1996. The countries of origin of these immigrants were mainly the UK, Poland and Lithuania, with an increasing amount of individuals migrating from Africa , Asia and other EU10 accession states (including: Cyprus, The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia) (Berman, 2009) This trend of inward migration was a relatively new phenomenon in Ireland compared to other EU member such as Germany or France who have lengthy histories of immigration The economic recession that began in 2008 has seen a slight stagnation of inward migration flows. According to UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO, 2005), a migrant is ‘any person who lives temporarily or permanently in a country where he or she was not born, and has acquired some significant social ties to this country’.
  • Ireland’s Homeless Population In the Irish context: Dearth of research on homeless women Dearth of research on homelessness among immigrant populations Little knowledge or understanding of the experiences of immigrant women who experience homelessness or housing instability.
  • Women and Homelessness in Ireland: A Biographical Pathways Analysis Biographical Interviews with 60 Homeless Women: ‘ Life Story’ – open invitation; women take control of the interview Time Line – chronology of life events/housing and homelessness Survey Instrument: administered after LH interview Ethnographic Observation (at 4 sites; 3 key informants) Photography Project : 10 participants
  • Age of Homeless Women (n=60) 73% of the sample are aged between 20-40 years old.
  • Living Situations of the Women
  • Violence during Childhood (n=60)
  • Violence during Adulthood (n=60)
  • Immigrant Women in the Sample (n=17)
  • Profile of the Migrant Women Ranged in age from 35-52 years (mean 33 years). Living in Ireland from between 1 and 10 yeasr (mean 4 years). The duration of their homelessness ranged from between 2 weeks and 10 years. The majority (n=14) were mothers with children in their care. Only two were living with a spouse or intimate partner at the time of interview. Relatively well educated: Junior Cert equiv (n=1); Leaving Cert equiv (n=7); Third level diploma (n=7); Third level degree (n=2). Fifteen of the seventeen women were unemployed at the time of interview. Fourteen of the women held official residency rights: two women had no immigration status and one woman did not satisfy the habitual residence condition.
  • Migrant Women: Living Situations at Time of Interview
  • Migrant Women and Experiences of Violence 15 of the 17 migrant women had experienced violence. 14 of the 17 migrant women had experienced violence in the context of an intimate partner relationship. Of these 14 women : All reported emotional abuse from an intimate partner. All reported at least one incident of physical violence;11 experienced violence on a frequent basis. 6 /14 reported sexual violence from partner. 10 of the women’s husbands/partner s lived in Ireland; the remaining three resided in their country of origin.
  • Migrant Women’s Pathways to Homelessness 10 women attributed INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE directly to their homelessness. – these women came directly from abusive situations into homelessness. One woman fled to Ireland to escape partner in a different continent. Nature and duration of reported violence varied between participants but usually involved a combination of physical abuse (hitting, slapping, punching or choking), emotional/verbal abuse (intimidation, name calling, manipulation, controlling threats and/or focusing women to act against their religious beliefs), financial manipulation or economic abuses (e.g. controlling finances, tampering with women’s immigration documentation), and sexual abuse (e.g. sexual assault, rape). Negative impact of abuse : “ I was really weak, like powerless and without my will and anything. I was just totally beaten dow n …” [Tereska, 25]. “ I was down and depressed. My smile look like I am crying” [Aisha, 31]
  • Other Reasons for Homelessness (n=7): 1. Financial difficulties (n=5; 1 of who also had no immigration status) + Violence from landlord 2. Drug addiction (n=2) Four of the women who have attributed homelessness to ‘causes’ other than domestic violence had also experienced violence in the past (two of them from an intimate partner)
  • Case Study: Bina’s Story (32 years)
  • Bina’s Homeless Journey (31-32 years old) Domestic violence and abuse escalated to the point that she was going lose her eye from repetitive beatings and before long, began to fear her life Parents at her childrens’ school based in Dublin, approached her and encouraged her to call Women’s Aid to exit her abusive situation. She had never heard of Women’s Aid and never knew refuges existed before this and felt shame in seeking help. The parents supported her emotionally in this regard, and boosted her feeling of self-worth. Bina worried how she would be able to leave Ireland without her and her children’s passports. “Don’t worry about the documents, just go!” advised another mother. She got through to Women’s Aid after many hours of engaged tone. She was initially advised by Women’s Aid that there was no available bed until after the weekend, but she got a surprise phone call at 5pm that day, instructed her to get a taxi; that there was a bed for her in a refuge outside the city. At time of interview, she had been living in emergency shelter with her children for nine months. This is wholly inappropriate for such lengthy periods of time (cramped conditions). No right to work or claim welfare payments. Denied leave to remain despite very sound case of domestic violence. It was subsequently discovered through conversations with staff at refuge that she was eventually returned to her country of origin – where, it was mentioned in previous slide, she has no family support due to the fact that she was disowned by Hindu community for marrying a
  • Women Negotiating Violence in their Homes The women’s narratives uncovered a whole range of barriers to their exiting violent home situations – in a critical sense, these barriers revel their economic marginality and their fear of leaving abusing home situations.
  • “ I was scared of going to the hostels, people that I don’t know, I didn’t know about the women’s aid, nobody ever even told me, the Gardai just left me outside.” – one 52 year old woman refused to enter into homeless accommodation out of fear. She believes she got no information from the Gardai about what options she had
  • Barriers to Exiting Homelessness
  • Transcript of "Migrant Women and Homelessness in Ireland: The Role of Gender-Based Violence"

    1. 1. Insert your logo here Migrant Women and Homelessness in Ireland: The Role of Gender-based Violence Paula Mayock and Sarah Sheridan Trinity College Dublin Interdisciplinary Center Sciences EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE for peace’ Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe Pisa, 16th September 2011
    2. 2. Acknowledgments Homeless women participants and service providers. Funders:  Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) Research Fellowship Scheme (2009-10)  Health Service Executive, Ireland (2010-11) EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    3. 3. Contextualising Immigration into Ireland Ireland traditionally has a history of emigration. ‘Celtic Tiger’ economic boom saw reversal of migration flows Percentage of non-national residents, according Central Statistics Office:  1996 – 7% non-nationals  2002 – 10%  2006 – 15%  2011 – Figures forthcoming. Countries of origin [source: Census 2006]:  UK  EU25 states – in particular Eastern Europe (Poland , Lithuania, Romania…)  Africa (in particular Nigeria)  Asia (China, The Philippines…)  United States of America EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    4. 4. Ireland’s Homeless Population Counted In (2008): 407 non-nationals, asylum seeker and refugees using homeless services in Dublin. The most recently published survey figures suggest that women make up approximately 32% of the homeless population (Homeless Agency, 2008). Immigrant women may be ‘hidden’ or ‘concealed’ because of their preference for relying on family or other unofficial networks of support (Nicholls & Quilgars, 2009). Women are in general a poorly researched sub-group of the homeless population (Baptista, 2010). EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    5. 5. Women and Homelessness in Ireland: A Biographical Pathways Analysis Biographical Interviews with 60 Homeless Women:  ‘Life Story’ – open invitation; women take control of the interview  Time Line – chronology of life events/housing and homelessness Survey Instrument: administered after LH interview Ethnographic Observation (at 4 sites; 3 key informants) Photography Project : 10 participants EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    6. 6. Age of Homeless Women (n=60) EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    7. 7. Living Situations of the Women (n=60) EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    8. 8. Violence during Childhood (n=60) 46 of the women (76%physical, sexual or emotional abuse ) either witnessed or directly experienced during childhood Of this sub-group of women: 38 women (63% of the sample) experienced physical abuse as a child  Perpetrator usually a close family member  5 experienced violence in a care/institutional setting  In addition to this, 3 women reported having witnessed DV in their family home 31 women (52%) reported child sexual abuse  Three-quarters of these were abused by an immediate family member  2 women was coerced into prostitution at the age of 13 7 women reported rape during adolescence. EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    9. 9. Violence during Adulthood (n=60) 50 women (83%) had experienced some form of violence during adulthood. 27 women (45%) reported some form of sexual violence as an adult (including in the context of an intimate relationship) 43 women (72%) experienced intimate partner violence or abuse. 9 women experienced intimate partner violence in more than one relationship. 34 women (57%) suffered violence during BOTH childhood and adulthood. EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    10. 10. Immigrant Women in the Sample (n=17) 17 Immigrant Women Interviewed (28% of sample) Countries of Origin: Eastern Europe n= 10 Southern Europe n= 1 Asia n= 4 Africa n= 1 Americas n= 1 (11 different nationalities) EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    11. 11. Profile of the Migrant Women Ranged in age from 25-52 years (mean 33 years). Living in Ireland from between 1 and 10 years (mean 4 years). The duration of their homelessness ranged from between 2 weeks and 10 years. The majority (n=14) were mothers with children in their care. Relatively well educated. Fifteen of the seventeen women were unemployed. Fourteen of the women held official residency rights. EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    12. 12. Migrant Women:Living Situations at Time of Interview Rough Sleeping Friends 1 1 Migrant Women Temporary n=17 emergency Transitional accommodation housing 5 3 Domestic Private-rented violence refuge accommodation 3 4 EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    13. 13. Photo taken by Delilah (Age 30) of her shared living quarterin temporary emergency accommodation, where she liveswith her child. At time of interview, she had been living herefor 19 months.Delilah has no immigrant status, which significantlyrestricted her move-on options. EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    14. 14. Migrant Women’s Experiences of Violence 15 of the 17 migrant women had experienced violence. 14 of the 17 migrant women had experienced violence in the context of an intimate partner relationship.Of these 14 women: All reported emotional abuse from an intimate partner. All reported at least one incident of physical violence; 11 had experienced violence on a frequent basis. 6 /14 reported sexual violence in the context of an intimate partner relationship. EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    15. 15. Migrant Women’s Pathways to Homelessness 10 of the migrant women attributed their homelessness directly to intimate partner violence . Nature and duration of reported violence varied between participants but usually involved a combination of physical abuse (hitting, slapping, punching or choking), emotional/verbal abuse (intimidation, name calling, manipulation, controlling threats and/or focusing women to act against their religious beliefs), financial manipulation or economic abuses (e.g. controlling finances, tampering with women’s immigration documentation), and sexual abuse (e.g. sexual assault, rape). Negative impact of abuse:“I was really weak, like powerless and without my will and anything. I was just totally beaten dow n …” [Tereska, 25].“I was down and depressed. My smile look like I am crying” [Aisha, 31] EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    16. 16. Migrant Women’s Pathways to HomelessnessOther Reasons for Homelessness (n=7) :  Financial difficulties (n=5; 1 of whom had no immigration status) + Violence from landlord  Drug addiction (n=2) Four of the women who have attributed homelessness to ‘causes’ other than domestic violence had also experienced violence in the past (two of them from an intimate partner). EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    17. 17. Case Study: Bina’s Story (32 years) Born in Asian country; Hindu origin Highly educated – third level qualification Married Muslim man at 23 years – disowned by her Hindu family. DOMESTIC ABUSE shortly after marriage:  Physical abuse (punching, slapping, cutting hair…)  Emotional abuse (intimidation, death threats, blackmailing…) Gave birth to two children during her 20s. 30 years: Husband migrated to Ireland and continually encouraged her to join; promising her that he would change his behaviour 31 years – MIGRATION TO IRELAND: She and her two children followed husband to Ireland. He immediately confiscated their immigration papers and passports; domestic abuse ensued. EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    18. 18. Bina’s Homeless Journey (31-32 years old) Domestic violence and abuse escalated after migrating to Ireland Cultural shame and stigma of violence “I don’t have the words but they have to, they are told to you have to endure and they just keep enduring and they like….uh, seeking help from the refuge is like a stigma for our community and people are too ashamed to say all these things.” Parents at her children’s school grew concerned for her safety She called Women’s Aid helpline (for victims of gender-based violence) Women’s Aid referred her to Domestic Violence refuge in Dublin. She took a taxi later that evening. At time of interview, had been living in an emergency refuge for 9 months.  No immigration status  No right to work  No welfare entitlements; surviving on emergency payments and charity hand- outs. EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE  Eventually returned to country of Demographic Change in SUPPORT IN Homelessness, Migration and origin – NO FAMILY Europe
    19. 19. Women Negotiating Violence in their HomesBarriers to Exiting Violent Home Situations High level of economic dependence on abusive partner High level of dependence on partner in a social sense Fear of “revenge”/escalation of violence Low family/other social supports Fear of exposing their violent home situations to the outside world:“So it [DV] started when I was 6 months pregnant and then was very, very often because he know that I don’t tell anybody this. I was so scared talking, I never go to doctor to show my bruises” [Immanuela, 29] EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    20. 20. Women’s Narratives on Help Seeking No/little knowledge about services: “didn’t know the system”.“I had no idea a place like this (refuge) exist … I had no idea about anything. I felt alone and just because of that I didn’t leave him earlier” [Alexandra, 30]. Supported escape from abusive home situations a dominant: support from the police (n=3), social worker (n=2), GP (n=2) or a friend/neighbour (n=2). Three of the women approached a stranger on the street for help.“I just found him in the street, you know, we aree the same Filipino … he know I was really scared, I didn’t know where to go, I don’t know the system in Ireland … I was just living with him two days because he just offered me … he gave me information about that (refuge) and that made me go to that emergency accommodation” [Maria, 29]. Anxiety of approaching services linkedCONFERENCE shame. EUROPEAN RESEARCH to stigma and Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    21. 21. Barriers to Exiting Homelessness Lack of affordable housing: ‘stuck’ or ‘trapped’ in emergency homeless/DV accommodation. Low/no income Unemployment. Inadequate or poor English language skills. Challenges associated with balancing childcare responsibilities with the demands of seeking and/or maintaining employment. No immigration status or entitlement to welfare payments. EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    22. 22. Conclusion Violence a prominent theme in the life stories of migrant women; many attrtibuted their homelessness to the experience of DV. Migrant women’s pathways to homelessness were nonetheless complex. Economic dependence on partners/income poverty: ‘trapped’ in contexts of domestic abuse --- becoming what Wardhaugh (1999) dscribes as women ‘homeless at home’, where they continued to ‘suffer abuse, violence and the suppression of self withing the supposed safe haven of the domistic home’ (O’Sullivan & Higgins, 2001). Findings reveal an intersection between gender and their immigration status (Pleace, 2010). This subordination, coupled with women’s economic insecurity, was strongly implicated in the processess leading to their homelessness and also limited the women’s ability to secure and maintain housing. EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
    23. 23. Photo taken by Delilah (Age 30) EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCEHomelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe
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