Women’s shelter needed here

Haven Society taking steps to outline local needs for women escaping abuse

According to a recent Haven Society forum in Parksville there is a need for a local facility to help women who have experienced violence.

“What we heard is there is a need,” said resource development co-ordinator Sarah Dymock, who added there are people willing to start a committee to begin the initial steps of looking into the short and long term needs in detail.

Before the forum, executive director Anne Spilker said 45 per cent of calls to the RCMP involve domestic situations and while there are services available to District 69 women through the Society for Organized Services (SOS) and Haven House transition house in Nanaimo, they know they are not adequate.

“We know many women don’t want to go all the way to Nanaimo,” she said.

“Most women don’t want to leave their family, they want the violence to stop. Maybe they hope their leaving will be a wake-up call,” she said of the hard decision, adding that women in abusive relationships leave their partner four to eight times on average, she said.

She said there appears to be a need for a transition house closer, to help women who don’t want to leave whatever resources and support they do have in the community, not to mention the impact on children and employment.

Spilker admitted the province clearly doesn’t have money for an annex or satellite facility in District 69 right now, “but that shouldn’t stop us from exploring the options and being ready. At some time there should be money available.”

Dymock said the local committee would be formed in the next couple months and will inform the community of further developments.

The Haven Society provides services to women, children, youth and families who have experienced violence and their website has good information, including pointing out that abuse takes many forms including physical, sexual and emotional such as insults and financial control.

People who would like to support Haven House or add their comments to the issue can contact them at 1-250-756-2452 or through their website at www.havensociety.com. In an emergency call 9-1-1.