Alberta shelters seeing increase in domestic violence cases

By Henna Saeed and Toula Mazloum

Some shelters in Alberta are experiencing an increase in domestic violence cases, and are worried about the well-being of the victims.

“Especially in the last probably six months is we’re seeing that the number of calls have increased significantly,” said Kim Ruse, CEO of FearIsNotLove.

Ruse says they are worried for the mental and physical wellbeing of the victims.

“For those who are in high risk situation, we’re seeing more weapons, we’re seeing higher danger assessment scores,” she said.

Right support at right time

According to the executive director of the Discovery House, Leslie Hill, domestic violence can be avoided by implementing easy to access services, which can offer the right support at the right time.

“Here at Discovery house, we do work with children who have witnessed domestic violence, to help them to mitigate the impact of trauma and brain development because we know kids who’ve experienced that trauma can be more susceptible to going on and experiencing domestic violence or using violence in a relationship in the future,” Hill added.

YW Calgary and FearIsNotLove will be using an app called Shelterlink, as part of a new collaboration to share resources.

The two Calgary shelters say their new collaboration will enhance access to support for women suffering from domestic violence.

The app will allow participating shelters to share information about bed availability, emergency services, and resources to offer “seamless” help for women and children during difficult times.

The development of this app has received $200,000 from the Government of Alberta through the Civil Society Fund.


Sue Tomney, the CEO of YW Calgary, says the app also gives a bigger picture of the current situation in the city.

“Currently, it can be challenging to understand the full picture behind shelter use in our city and province,” Tomney said. “ShelterLink will provide us with an accurate perspective of how individuals are accessing shelters and utilizing other support programs.”

Ruse adds the app will also give clarity about victims’ needs.

“We also know that each person’s experiences and needs are unique. ShelterLink will give us clarity about the true community need, which will provide us the information we need to work towards zero turn-aways in Calgary,” said Ruse.

— With files from Lisa Grant

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