We were excited to hear the city’s first women’s shelter has opened, and will start to receive clients on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The folks at Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. have been working for years to bring an emergency women’s shelter to the city. The charity has faced many unexpected hurdles and increased costs, so it is great to see the shelter finally come to fruition.
It’s a much-needed amenity that will, quite frankly, save women’s lives. As Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. highlights on its website, eight out of 10 victims in police-reported intimate partner violence were women in 2017. The society’s site also points out the troubling statistic that a Canadian woman was killed by her intimate partner every 2.5 days in 2018, according to a report from the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability.
“The risk of a woman being killed by a partner is highest after separation, or when she decides to leave,” Airdrie P.O.W.E.R.’s site states.
The shelter will not only provide these vulnerable women with a temporary safe haven, but dedicated staff will provide them access to valuable resources, counselling and other services. That could be anything from giving someone an emergency hamper filled with basic hygiene items, to supplying someone who is fleeing their abuser with a gift card for a stay at a hotel, to financial planning advice for a woman who is preparing to leave her abuser behind for good.
As Airdrie P.O.W.E.R.’s president pointed out, the need for a women’s shelter has heightened in the last year, due to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on family tension. The increased stress in many households has led to an unfortunate surge in domestic violence. Making matters even worse, the pandemic has made it harder for women suffering from partner violence to seek refuge or support from their abuser, as so many are cooped up at home with their abuser.
Now, women in Airdrie have a dedicated venue they can reach out to for help. It's great to see.