Community-based women's shelters look to the international scene to find solutions that help women escape domestic violence.
Edmonton (6 May 2009) – A recent meeting of people from more than a dozen countries was held in Ottawa to establish a Global Network of Women's Shelters. This new collaboration will help front-line staff learn about strategies that are working in other countries, says Jan Reimer, provincial co-ordinator for the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters.
Increasingly, workers at women's shelters in the Edmonton-area are providing support and services for women who don't have the documents they need to live in Canada. In some cases women are facing deportation without their Canadian-born children.
The chronic underfunding of these community-based social services has created significant obstacles to helping these women. Shelters across Canada are helping women in situations that are increasingly complex, affected by international problems such as human trafficking and the economic downturn.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) continue to characterize violence against women as a global pandemic. Women's shelters and support centres across Canada experience that reality daily.
The Alberta Council of Women's Shelters hopes that with shelters connected internationally the potential to move things forward will be enhanced. It also increases the possibility that shelters can make sure that women travelling back to their home countries have a safe place to go.
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