New survey by Statistics Canada says more than 80% were fleeing an abusive situation.
To provide further insight on the overall numbers, the agency says it conducted a "survey snapshop day" on April 16, 2008, and found that 4,273 women and 3,361 children were staying in various shelters on that day.
"Nearly 80% of these women and children were attempting to flee an abusive situation and the remainder were seeking shelter for reasons other than abuse," the agency says. It also found that:
♦ Nearly half of the female victims of abuse in shelters were admitted with their children. (Slightly more than one in five women did not have their children with them when admitted. The other women did not have any parenting responsibilities or their situation was unknown.)
♦ Psychological or emotional abuse, as well as physical abuse, were the types of abuse cited by women seeking shelter. (For approximately three-quarters of women in shelters, the abuse was inflicted by a spouse or former spouse.)
♦ One quarter – 25% – of the women in shelters on the snapshot day were there to protect their children from witnessing the abuse being inflicted on them. (The women also wanted to protect their children from abusive situations such as psychological abuse – 20% – and physical abuse – 12%.)
More than nine in 10 women who left shelters for abused women on April 16, 2008, did not plan to return to live with their spouses.
The statistics have been compiled by the Transition Home Survey (THS) which provides an overview of shelters in Canada that offers services to abused women and their children. Full details are available on the Statistics Canada website.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has produced a publication entitled Women Empowering Women which deals with the issue of assault against women, the services available to help them and the workers who provide them across the country. It can be downloaded at the link below or obtained by contacting the union at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last year, delegates from more than 50 countries gathered in Edmonton on Monday to take part in the world’s first conference on shelter workers, an initiative supported by NUPGE and its Alberta Component, the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA/NUPGE). More than 750 shelter workers participated in the historic event.