Ottawa (30 April 2015) — The Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters and Transition Houses (CNWSTH) has released their second annual Shelter Voices survey report on the state of shelters for women fleeing abuse across Canada. Shelters from every province and territory have contributed to provide a snapshot of a day in the life of a women’s shelter.
The four-page survey summary report shows that on one day, 231 shelters in Canada welcomed 122 new women residents and 81 new child residents. However, on the same day, shelters were forced to turn away 302 women and 221 children seeking shelter due to lack of resources. Shelter Voices also covers abuse prevention services, survivor support services for residents and non-residents, support for mental health and substance use concerns within shelters, as well as visions and testimonies from shelter workers and shelter residents.
Simply not enough resources to meet the demand
“It’s great that there’s been increasing recognition of the prevalence of violence against women in Canadian society,” says Lise Martin, Executive Director of the CNWSTH. “But the flip side is that there simply are not enough resources to meet the demand for services.”
As one shelter worker stated, "We often have women who 'fall through the cracks' due to lack of resources. Or if there are resources, they have long wait-lists and many of the women end up leaving the shelter poorly resourced."
Despite the resource crunch, Shelter Voices testimonies reflect the impact that shelters have on the lives of women and children fleeing abuse. “I thought I would never be able to speak my mind,” says one woman via Shelter Voices. “Thanks to shelter staff I have my voice back.” A child’s voice puts it even more succinctly: “We are in a magical house.”
Canadian Network of Women's Shelters and Transition Houses
The CNWSTH isa coalition of 12 provincial and territorial shelter networks representing over 350 shelters across Canada. It works as a unified voice to collaborate, educate, and innovate for systemic change that ends violence against women, making Canada a model for safety in the world.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE