Mothers’ understandings of ‘home’ after relationship separation and divorce

Monica Campo, Belinda Fehlberg, Kristin Natalier, Bruce Smyth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores 35 mothers’ understandings of home after relationship separation, along with barriers and facilitators to creating home post-separation. No previous research has done so. We found that for mothers, like their children, home was complex and multidimensional, and rarely defined just in terms of physical space. Rather, it was a relational concept, with physical space providing the context for relationships with family, neighbourhood and community, to feel safe, and the opportunity to be oneself. More than half the mothers in the study reported experiencing domestic and family violence by their former partners and, for some, this had continued after separation. While the ongoing impacts of domestic and family violence significantly challenged some mothers’ ability to create home, separation and a level of liberation from violence could also mean that they were able to create home for the first time for themselves and their children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-477
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Social Welfare and Family Law
Issue number4
Early online date22 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • divorce
  • domestic and family violence
  • Home
  • mothers
  • post-separation parenting
  • separation


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