Calgary

Domestic violence against higher-income women on rise with oilpatch layoffs, group warns

More high-income families will experience domestic violence as layoffs continue in the oilpatch, according to a Calgary women's support organization.

Abuse support group director troubled by increase in what she dubs 'upscale violence'

Domestic Violence Calgary

7 years ago
Duration 2:53
Calgary's 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

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.

"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.

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