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Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, sees a jump in demand for their services

Post pandemic, the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter is seeing a troubling increase in need in this city.

There were a thousand more calls received at the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter compared to the previous year.

According to the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter’s CEO, Kim Ruse, the shelter received more than three thousand calls in the first three months of 2022  in demand for their services for victims and perpetrators of abuse.

According to Ruse, one in three women after the age of 16 will report either sexual or domestic abuse at some point in their life.

Calls to the CEWS 24-hour helpline

  • Jan – March 2022: 4040
  • Oct – Dec 2021: 3,722
  • Jan – March 2021 – 2,948

The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter is a registered charity focusing on ending family violence and abuse in the lives of women, children, youth and men since 1974.

The agency has helped more than 260,000 Calgarians build safe lives and healthy relationships.

“We help people navigate through family crisis and understand that and assess their risk, so they know when they’re really situated in this issue, and then how to take steps forward to create safety,” said Ruse.

“Sometimes that means with shelter, sometimes that means the safety of the community. Other times it’s counselling. We help people by creating a clear plan forward for how they’re going to create safety in the relationships.”

Epidemic of violence

According to Ruse, 75 per cent of surveyed Albertans said they know someone that’s directly impacted by family violence abuse.

Statistics Canada also said 44 per cent of women have reported experiencing some form of psychological, physical, or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Ruse said the numbers indicate that there’s an epidemic of violence in families across Canada.

There are multiple factors that lead to family violence abuse according to Ruse, such as the high cost of living which has impacted Canada since the 1980s.

“The high cost of living which many survivors of domestic abuse face can be a barrier in escaping dangerous and unhealthy situations,” she said.

Ruse said high costs of living create different dynamics and balances of people that normally wouldn’t stay in a violent home as it takes a while to figure out what is unique in this particular climate right now.

“When women are trying to leave a relationship, money in the relationship is tied up for a while, therefore she can’t have easy access to it because she’s sorting through family court and through the divorce process or whatever that might be happening for that family,” said Ruse.

“They don’t want to disrupt their family and create extra crisis or they want stability for the kids and so their financial angle has always been a consideration for people but right now I think it is more so.”

Calgarians wanting to donate to the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter can participate in the LOVE YOU by Shoppers Drug Mart program that chose to support the agency from Sept. 10 to Oct. 14 through in-store and online donations, which can be made online.