Saskatonians raise money for victims of violence

Saturday's Move for Hope event is a one-hour fitness fundraiser for Saskatoon shelters

Saturday's Move for Hope event is a one-hour fitness fundraiser for Saskatoon shelters

A room at the YWCA's shelter for women and children. (CBC News)

On Saturday, people in Saskatoon plan to work out and raise money for women who have experienced violence. Advocates from the Canadian Women's Foundation say Saskatchewan has the highest rate of spousal abuse in Canada.

The fundraiser, Move for Hope, is an hour of fitness held at Station 20 West to raise cash and mark the kick-off to the Canadian Women's Foundation's 10th Annual Campaign to End Violence Against Women.

Half of the money raised in Saskatoon on Saturday will go to local shelters, like the YWCA's Crisis Shelter and Residence.

Barb Macpherson, Executive Director of the Saskatoon YWCA, said Friday the shelter helps about 1000 women and children every year.

"They are admitted if we have room. They are given a room," Macpherson said. "Many of them come with nothing, so we provide them with toiletries, we provide them with nutritious food, we provide them with bedding, we provide them with everything they need." 

Barb Macpherson is the Executive Director at the Saskatoon YWCA. (CBC News)

Macpherson said that although the YWCA typically only has room for about half the women who need help at any given time, they would not be able to help anyone without donations.

The YWCA Crisis Centre has 44 rooms for women and children who need a safe place to stay to escape violence. They also provide counselling services and long-term programming to women who are trying to escape domestic abuse.

According to the latest statistics recorded by the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS), domestic abuse distress calls are on the rise in the city.

In 2012, the SPS received 3,995 domestic violence-related calls, up from 3,881 calls in 2011.

However, Macpherson said the vast majority of women who experience domestic abuse never report it.

"Women don't leave the first time," Macpherson explained. "[Violence] is something that has been ingrained and so it takes a long time...and one of the challenges they face, is that they don't have any place to go."

Macpherson said the money from the fundraiser will be used to buy more supplies and resources for the shelter.

According to the Canadian Women's Foundation, more than 100 Saskatchewan women have been killed by their spouse since 1975.