Domestic violence against higher-income women on rise with oilpatch layoffs, group warns
Abuse support group director troubled by increase in what she dubs 'upscale violence'
High-income families are at a higher risk of experiencing domestic violence as layoffs continue in the oilpatch, a Calgary women's support centre has warned.
The Peer Support Services for Abused Women has seen a 40-per cent spike in domestic violence this year compared to last, says executive director Andrea Silverstone.
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"When perpetrators are unemployed or underemployed, rates of domestic violence go up. There's greater risk for the victim," she said.
"Women who experience 'upscale violence' have a whole different set of barriers," she added.
Pauline Murdock, one such victim, says she kept her abuse quiet out of shame.
"I never told anyone in the 13-and-a-half years that I was with this man, that I was abused by this man. Ever. Not told one soul," said Murdock.
"And then finally when he threatened to kill me, and I knew he was serious, that's when I broke my silence."
Murdock says she was not a "typical" victim.
"I ended up in a women's shelter [and] I thought — 'I am not like these ladies,'" she said.
Women from higher-income families often are not aware of the help available to them, including support at her centre, Silverstone said.
"It's for anyone who seeks support from a domestic violence relationship," Silverstone said.