behind the yellow door

ACWS 2019 Data Release: Assessment reveals two thirds of women fleeing “severe” risk of being murder

The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) today released aggregate data on women, children and seniors accessing shelters in Alberta in the past year.

Read the report (PDF)

From the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters:

The annual statistics show an increasing severity of violence reported to shelters. Nearly two thirds of women who used the Danger Assessment tool when accessing shelters in Alberta are at a ‘severe’ or ‘extreme’ risk of being murdered by their intimate partner. This is the highest risk level seen in the past eight years.

“Domestic violence remains an urgent and serious problem in Alberta. ACWS members sheltered 10,128 women, children and seniors this year, but shelters had to turn away 23,247 women, children and seniors requesting shelter due to a lack of capacity across the province.”

– Jan Reimer, Executive Director, ACWS

While highlighting the extent of the ongoing domestic violence epidemic, the statistics also show the transformative impact of shelters on the lives of families and the context in which shelters operate. According to the data, 96% of women and seniors did not return to their abuser after a stay in shelter.

Despite operating at capacity, Alberta women’s shelters continue to do transformative work for the women, children and seniors they serve. In the past year, they served 7,474 people through outreach services and provided 78,422 services including emergency and longer-term accommodation, safety planning, trauma-informed childcare, outreach services, counselling, and legal advocacy.

39 ACWS members collect data on every woman, child and senior they serve at 51 shelters provincewide to inform shelter services and public policy. With the support of its members, ACWS has one of the largest social justice databases which can inform government policy and practice to provide better services for those who need them.

Quick facts:

  • Every six days in Canada, a woman is killed by a current or former intimate partner

  • Alberta has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the country, and the severity of the violence is on the rise

  • 10,128 women, children and seniors were sheltered in 2018/19

  • 23,247 women and children requesting shelter were turned away due to a lack of capacity in 2018/19 (a 38% increase from last year)

  • Shelters received 60,170 crisis calls

  • 68% of men surveyed said they had taken some sort of action to intervene when they saw a woman facing abuse

About ACWS

ACWS is the provincial network organization of women’s shelters in Alberta. ACWS supports 39 members operating 51 shelters across the province. ACWS serves shelters through corporate and community change; collective data and research; and frontline education and training to end domestic violence.

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