In 1991, Saanich supported creating a safe house for women when no other municipality in Greater Victoria was willing to take the risk.
Twenty-one years later, 200 women and children take refuge every year from violent or abusive situations at the Cridge Transition House for Women.
This year, the municipality extended its support of the Cridge’s work and declared April 16 to 20, 2012 Prevention of Violence Against Women Week.
“For one in four women on the street, the decision is: be homeless or be battered,” said Shannon Whissell, spokesperson for the Cridge Centre for the Family. “We need to keep this conversation happening for the impact not only on women and families, but on whole communities.”
The framed proclamation from the municipality will hang in the Cridge Transition House for Women as a sign of Saanich’s leadership.
When other municipalities were unwilling to take on the various safety and zoning requirements involved in establishing a transition house, Saanich staff and council were not only agreeable but helpful.
“(It was believed that) there would be too much risk to have a safe place for women,” Whissell said, about the hurdles faced by the Colin Moorman, Cridge executive director at the time.
Anyone can take actions as simple as changing their language and choosing what portrayals of women they find acceptable in entertainment, she added.
Another important step toward preventing violence is stopping the silence. Those who are in violent or abusive situations need to be helped, either through an emergency stay at the house, or resources provided via an outreach worker.
Saanich’s proclamation falls in line with B.C.’s Prevention of Violence Against Women Week, April 15-21.
Coroners release violence research
As part of Prevention of Violence Against Women Week, the B.C. Coroners Service released research into domestic deaths since 2003. Among key findings was that murdered women were eight times more likely than men to be killed by their spouse or romantic partner. Of the assailants, 80 per cent were male and 20 per cent were female. In every situation in which more than one person died – either multiple homicides or homicide-suicides – the assailant was male.
• Women can access more information on the Cridge Transition House at cridge.org or get emergency services through an outreach worker, any time of day or night, at 250-479-3963.
• The Victoria Women’s Transition House Society is not affiliated with the Cridge and offers a similar service. Reach the Victoria Women’s Transition House 24 hours a day at 250-385-6611. More information available at www.transitionhouse.net.