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Domestic violence in Alberta homes is getting worse, say shelter organizers


The shocking numbers behind Alberta MLA's story of domestic abuse

Politician Maria Fitzpatrick brought the Alberta legislature to its feet — and to tears — with her wrenching account of domestic abuse on Monday.

Here's a rundown of the surprising numbers behind her speech and her support of a private member's bill that allows women in abusive relationships to break leases without financial penalty.

4,901: The number of women admitted to Alberta's shelters between 2014 and 2015. There are 32 emergency shelters, 12 second-stage shelters and two seniors shelters in the province. Demand for these spaces spiked in recent months. Most experts say job losses and economic stress from falling oil prices are driving that increase.

50 per cent: Half of the 4,901 women admitted to Alberta shelters between 2014 and 2015 were found to be in "extreme" danger on the danger-assessment scale. This percentage is up slightly from the year before.

9,073: The number of women in Alberta turned away from emergency shelters in the 2014 to 2015 season, almost double the number who found a shelter space during the same time period. A total of 9,548 children were turned away in the same time period.

50,047: The number of crisis calls to women's shelters between 2014 and 2015. Of those — 88 per cent were emergency calls.

6 to 8: According to many non-profits specializing in domestic abuse, this is the average number of times it takes a victim to successfully leave an abusive relationship. One American study found women are 70 times more likely to be killed in the two weeks after making an attempt to leave than at any other time in the relationship.

$15 million: The amount of money Alberta's NDP government recently announced to combat domestic violence. Part of that funding will be devoted to second-stage shelters, apartment-style housing offering longer-term support for survivors needing a place to stay for up to two years.

117: The number of deaths province wide that resulted from family violence between 2008 and 2014, as reported by the Alberta Death Review Committee.

204: The private member's bill that Maria Fitzpatrick spoke in support of, which unanimously passed first reading this week. The bill is designed to amend tenancy rules so that women who can show proof they are in danger (like a certificate of a restraining order) can break a lease without financial penalty.

1: An advocate says the bill could help remove some significant barriers. "There are so many barriers for women to be able to escape domestic violence," said Liza Sunley, executive director for the Lurana Shelter in Edmonton. She says financial difficulty and housing are the biggest problems women in abuse situations face when trying to leave. "It sounds so simple, but those are some of the things that make it so difficult for women to leave."

1,505: the number of times the CBC web story about Maria Fitzpatrick's speech was shared on social media, as of 7:30 p.m. MT Tuesday.


The shocking numbers behind Alberta MLA's story of domestic abuse - Edmonton - CBC News