Shelter and support services for victims of domestic violence are severely lacking, study finds

Toronto – June 1, 2016 – The Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters and Transition Houses (CNWST) recently released their third national survey, entitled Shelter Voices, which captured a “one-day snapshot” of transition houses and shelters in Canada by analyzing the experiences of women and children who used these facilities in order to escape violence.

The study found that out of 416 women and children who sought refuge on a single day, 305 were forced to find alternatives or were turned away due to shelter overcapacity. It also discovered that 4 percent of women seeking help had been threatened with a gun, and that pregnancy increased the likelihood of a woman experiencing extreme physical violence. In addition, 30 percent of shelters claimed there was no access to social housing in their region.

While the study found that 73 percent of women and children who were turned away from shelters were offered alternatives such as referral counselling, the survey results clearly indicate that shelter and support services for victims of domestic violence are severely lacking in Canada.

“The federal government’s failure to provide adequate funding for services that enable women and children to escape domestic violence is unconscionable,” says Paul Meinema, the National President of UFCW Canada. “It is time for the Trudeau Liberals to move away from piecemeal solutions to domestic abuse by working to implement a national blueprint for ending violence against women and children,” he adds.

UFCW Canada recently entered into a national partnership with the CNWST in order to push for real solutions to domestic violence at all levels of government. To find out more about the work of the CNWST, and to access resources that can help victims of domestic violence, visit