Edmonton·Video

How will $15M for shelters help women in Alberta?

It took three attempts before the young Edmonton mother summoned up the courage to leave her abusive husband for good. For four years Cara (not her real name) had walked on eggshells dodging the verbal, emotional and mental abuse.

Edmonton mother in shelter reacts to $15M funding announcement

"It's going to really help a lot of women," says victim of abusive relationship on Alberta government's decision to spend $15M on women's shelters. 0:53

It took three attempts before the young Edmonton mother summoned up the courage to leave her abusive husband for good.

For four years Cara (not her real name) had walked on eggshells dodging the verbal, emotional and mental abuse.

"I knew that it could possibly escalate," she said.

When her husband started taking drugs around their four-year-old son that was the "last straw."

"I mean it's hard to leave just to begin with," said Cara, who credits living at Wings of Providence shelter since June with strengthening her resolve to stay away.

"You know, to make that step. To get out of the abusive relationship. So without this I mean I'd possibly still be there."

Wings is a second-stage shelter, which means it provides longer term housing, counselling, security and other supports to women. Cara said that assistance is key to moving on and rebuilding her life.

"The counselling here is phenomenal. My counsellor has been instrumental in helping me realize why I left and how to stay away," she said.

Cara was one of many who welcomed the province's announcement Wednesday that $15 million in new funding is being provided to support women and children escaping domestic violence. The news was greeted by advocates as a long-awaited injection of funds for shelters and counselling programs.

The money will pay for dozens of new child trauma and outreach support workers at second-stage shelters.

"This is groundbreaking. It is wonderful news," said Patricia Garrett, executive director of Wings.
Patricia Garrett is executive director of Wings of Providence, a second-stage shelter based in Edmonton. (CBC)

"It's really going to create opportunities for shelters across this province to provide more essential service to women and children who've experienced domestic violence."

But Garrett said there is still a great need for more affordable and safe housing for lower-income women and children fleeing domestic violence.

She said last year alone Wings turned away 112 women and 239 children, and that can lead to dangerous situations.

"I think sometimes women can feel so overwhelmed that they end up returning to a situation they know isn't safe or healthy," said Garrett. "But they feel they have no other alternative."

In the meantime, Garrett said the new money offers more support for women in abusive situations who are not in shelters.

Cara, who is now planning to go back to school to pursue a new career in the medical field, called the funding wonderful news.

"The more funding we can get for women like me the better it's going to be for people in the future," she said.

andrea.huncar@cbc.ca

@andreahuncar

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.