Domestic abuse shelters in Saskatchewan routinely operate at full capacity

By Rebbeca Marroquin
July 14, 2017 - 5:00pm

Women fleeing domestic violence are turning to shelters for help, but due to high demand, there’s sometimes a waiting list to get in.

The Northeast Women’s shelter in Melfort has only been opened for a year, but according to executive director Louise Schweitzer, they’re usually at full capacity.

“I know that we have people phoning every day to see if we have space," she said.

According to Schweitzer, each year the shelter takes in 68 women and 133 children who are going through extremely difficult times. Sometimes, women are placed on a waiting list because there’s not enough room.

"That's not a rare occurrence throughout the province," she said.

Schewitzer said one of the reasons why domestic violence is so prominent in the province is the isolation of rural and remote communities. 

"If you can isolate them then you have more power and control over them," she said. "Domestic violence is about power and control.”

Six out of seven provincial shelters paNOW reached out to, said they were also at full capacity. Anna Crowe, the executive director of WISH Safe House, said the number of people coming in to the shelter fluctuates throughout the year. She said although they are busier during the winter, they currently have a waiting list.

“When one shelter is full, there is a good possibility that others are full,” she said.

That is the case in Prince Albert, where the city’s Safe Shelter said they’ve had a waiting list for months now that is sitting at over 20 people.

According to Statistics Canada, Saskatchewan has double the national average of police-reported family violence incidents. 


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