Shelters for abused women

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On April 15, 2010, there were 593 shelters offering services to abused women in Canada, up from 569 in 2008 when this information was last collected.

On that day, 4,645 women were residing in these shelters. More than one-third (36%) were staying at transition homes, followed by emergency shelters (21%), second-stage housing (20%) and women's emergency shelters (15%). The remaining 7% were staying in other types of shelters.

Nearly one-third (31%) of women in shelters on that day were repeat admissions, that is, it was not their first time at that facility. This compares with 25% two years earlier.

In addition, 426 women were turned away from facilities on April 15, 2010, most often because the facility had reached full capacity.

Emotional abuse (66%) and physical abuse (53%) were the most common reasons for women to seek shelter. Other reasons included the inability to find affordable housing (30%), issues related to mental health (23%) and drug and alcohol dependency (19%). On average, each woman reported five different reasons for seeking admission to a shelter.

Among those women in shelters for reasons of abuse, the majority (80%) reported that they had been abused by a current or former spouse or common-law partner.

Almost three-quarters of abused women with parental responsibilities brought their children to the shelter with them, an average of two children per woman.

About 6 in 10 abused women residing at the shelters on that day had not reported the most recent incident to police.

Note: This report is based on data from the latest Transition Home Survey (THS), a national survey of residential facilities providing shelter to abused women and their children. The THS, conducted every two years, provides information on the facilities, their services and a snapshot of the clients they serve. Among these shelters, 8% also admitted adult men.

Available on CANSIM: tables 256-0013 to 256-0015 and 256-0017.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3328.

The Juristat article "Shelters for abused women in Canada, 2010" (85-002-X, free), is now available. From the Key resource module of our website under Publications, choose All subjects, then Crime and Justice, and Juristat.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Information and Client Services (toll-free 1-800-387-2231; 613-951-9023), Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.