The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter has experienced a sharp increase in calls to their helpline since the economic plunge.

Statistics show that the number of calls has increased by 300 per cent since the downturn “and that’s when our increases started” says Cathy Alfonso from the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter, however, not all of these calls were crisis calls.

This shelter provides a home-like place for women and families who flee abusive and violent environments in their household.

Produced by Malak Amche

The Calgary Police Conflict unit confirms there is a connection between increased unemployment and violence in the home, because they have also received 19,000 emergency calls last year, some of which were transferred to the women’s shelter.

D. Gaye Warthe, a social work and child studies official at Mount Royal University says that people can’t definitively say that unemployment causes more domestic violence.

Photo by Jurek D. Creative Commons Licensed 

But there are certainly a number of factors that contribute to abuse, including being laid off from a job. This becomes another stressor in a household where violence already takes place, and that is usually when the male partner loses control.

Warthe went on to say, “the stats range from 7-10 times that a woman will attempt to leave, before she finally leaves, so that’s a lot of risk. Women frequently stay in abusive relationships and there’s many reasons. Financial is certainly one of them.”

The poor economy has caused more stressors for many families and intimate partners, and domestic abuse shelters do their best to lend a helping hand. The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter even has partnerships with hotels so they can help serve more women if they end up running out of space.

mamche@cjournal.ca

The editor responsible for this article is Trevor Solway and can be contacted at tsolway@cjournal.ca