Need help now? Call 911, if in danger
or call the 24-Hour Family Violence
Helpline 403.234.SAFE (7233)
Need help right now?
Call 911, if in danger, or call the 24-Hour Family Violence Helpline at 403.234.SAFE (7233)
What is Domestic Violence?
According to the Department of Justice in Canada, family violence (also called domestic violence) is considered to be any form of abuse, mistreatment or neglect that a child or adult experiences from a family member, or from someone with whom they have an intimate relationship. It occurs when “when someone uses abusive behaviour to control and/or harm a member of their family, or someone with whom they have an intimate relationship.” Types of abuse include: physical, sexual, financial, emotional, spiritual, and neglect.
According to Statistics Canada, 8 out of 10 victims in police-reported intimate partner violence were women in 2017.
One of the more shocking statistics is that a woman is killed by her intimate partner every 2.5 days, according to a 2018 report from the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability. The risk of a woman being killed by a partner is highest after separation, or when she decides to leave. From 2007 to 2011, a woman’s risk of being killed by a legally separated spouse was nearly six times higher than the risk from a legally married spouse. (Statistics for Alberta)
Until recently, the solution offered to women was to go to an emergency shelter, or otherwise leave the situation. However, this option does not always work for everyone, and the risk of severe injury or homicide increases when a woman does decide to leave. The focus is now on prevention and early intervention, thanks to new research and initiatives. How can help be provided in a way that can prevent this?
Upon reading the latest reports and speaking with women who have fled abusive situations, we learned that it would be safer for women to leave their situation when they have solid plans in place. To address this need, Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. is opening a Day Shelter in Airdrie, a safe and welcoming place where women and their children can spend a few hours during the day making those plans with individualized support.
Approximately 5% of women will access a 24-hour emergency women's shelter. What about the other 95%?
That's where we come in!
The Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. Day Shelter, the first of its kind in North America, aims to fulfil the needs of women and children affected by domestic violence using information from “Shelter 2.0: A Discussion Paper”, as well as the Take A Stand Initiative delivered by the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter.
Safety First! We will never send anyone home to a dangerous situation. If an emergency shelter is unavailable, we will help make alternate arrangements for accommodation.
The Day Shelter:
• is a safe, non-judgmental haven where women and children can take a few hours during the day to relax, make all of the connections and plans needed to leave an abusive household, through individualized wrap-around support, and access the formal supports that fit their needs,
• will provide training programs for women and children, such as financial planning, safety planning, and self defence,
• will provide support and referrals for friends and family members,
• will provide information sessions for the public to “recognize, respond, and refer” to strengthen informal networks,
• will provide secure lock-boxes for women to store their “escape kits” so that these items are not found by the abuser,
• IS NOT a formal overnight shelter, but will connect women and children to emergency resources and shelters.
Accessing formal support from police, counsellors, and other professionals can be daunting, or just seem out of reach to someone experiencing domestic violence. In the heat of the moment, it may be hard to process everything that is available on one's own in order to make decisions. The Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. Day Shelter bridges the gap between informal supports (friends and family) and formal supports (police, community agencies), and provides step by step guidance for each person's unique situation.
Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. has leased a house to serve as the Day Shelter, providing a warm, welcoming, and homelike haven. State of the art security systems are being put into place, so that the Day Shelter has the same security and protection that an emergency shelter has. Currently, we are raising funds to upgrade the house’s interior so that it will be up to code for a commercial site, accessible to all, yet still homelike and comfortable.
Day Shelter Services will include:
Women Helping Women Essentials Hampers - A program where women leaving domestic violence situations can have access to clothing, toiletries, kids’ supplies (diapers, etc.) and gift cards up to $50.00 to buy essentials.
Monthly Free Legal Clinic - A family lawyer will be on site once per month to provide legal advice and answer questions.
Individualized Step-By-Step Support - Staff and volunteers (Who have had vulnerable sector and child safety background checks and who have signed confidentiality agreements) will work with women to develop a personalized step-by-step action plan based on their current needs and situation.
Knowledge is POWER Educational Series - Regular educational sessions will be provided in the following areas:
o Self-Defense: A martial arts or self-defense instructor will be hired on a contract basis to provide sessions.
o Financial Planning – A licensed financial advisor will be contracted to provide advice to women about how to make appropriate financial plans for escape.
o Safety/Cyber-Safety Planning – Women and children will learn how to develop and enact a safety plan. Cyber-safety such as being wary of computer and phone tapping/hacking will also be taught.
o Job Search Skills – Women and teenagers will learn skills needed for finding and securing work; such as resume/cover-letter preparation, interviewing skills, finding the hidden job market, etc.
o Peer Support Learning through Sagesse programs.