This article was written by Tracie Czerkawski member of the Social Policy Committee
On June 6, 2018, the Calgary Police Service Annual Report was presented to Calgary City Council’s Standing Policy Committee on Community & Protective Services. This report showed a 16% increase in domestic violence incidents in 2017 from the previous year, which Calgary Police Chief Roger Chaffin attributed to Calgary’s economic downturn. The unemployment, underemployment, fear of job loss, and financial difficulties that result from a struggling economy are linked to an increase in domestic violence in a number of ways:
- Increased stress and tension in a home can cause people to express their anger, frustration, and fear in a violent manner towards those close to them, especially people dependent upon them.
- Feeling a loss of control at work or in personal finances can result in abusers aggressively trying to control the people in their lives.
- Stress can cause people to use drugs and alcohol to cope. Drug and alcohol use are connected to higher rates of domestic violence.
There are many complex reasons that women stay in an abusive home or relationship, and a poor economic climate makes it even more difficult for them to leave.
- If a woman is unemployed, underemployed, or concerned about her ability to get a job, she may be unable to financially support herself and her children if she leaves the abusive relationship.
- If there is downsizing happening at her workplace, she may be worried about her future financial stability
- If a woman is unemployed, she may be socially isolated and not have other people in her life who are aware of her wellbeing, or who could help her leave.
- Social services and shelters that support women and children experiencing domestic violence are stretched beyond capacity due to increasing rates of domestic violence and the poor economic climate.
Domestic violence is abuse that occurs within a home, family or relationship, where one person tries to control, dominate or harm another. When most people think of domestic violence, they think of physical abuse, however domestic violence comes in many forms including emotional, psychological, verbal, sexual, financial, spiritual, neglect, stalking and harassment. The most common example of domestic violence is intimate partner violence, which is abuse that occurs between spouses or romantic partners, but children, parents, or elderly people can also be victims.
Domestic Violence Facts:
- Women and girls make up 67% of domestic violence victims, and in the case of intimate partner violence, 78% of victims are women.
- Women are more likely to experience elder abuse.
- Indigenous women are 5 times more likely to experience spousal violence than non-Indigenous women.
- Approximately every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner.
- Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter reports that in 2017-2018, they provided shelter to 220 women and 228 children, but were unable to accommodate a further 1780 women and 855 children who were supported via other resources.
- 41% of women surveyed who used the Women’s Centre in 2017 were experiencing or have experienced a violent relationship.
If you think you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence please connect with one of the resources below: