100,000 Women and Children Leave Homes to Escape Abuse

YWCA Canada's Rose Campaign calls for National Action Plan on Violence Against Women

OTTAWA, Nov. 25, 2013 /CNW/ - From soul-destroying photos of sexually assaulted teenage girls to continued disappearances of Aboriginal women, violence against women and girls is a constant of life in our country, says YWCA Canada, the country's single largest provider of shelter services for women and children fleeing violence. Launching the annual Rose Campaign to end violence against women in the lead up to December 6, YWCA Canada calls for development of a National Action Plan on Violence Against Women, beginning with a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

"Across the country demand for services and programs outstrips capacity. From Halifax to Vancouver we're hearing 'we had to turn women away', sometimes every day, sometimes every week," says YWCA CEO Paulette Senior. "Affordable housing tops the list of what women need to leave violence behind and live safely in community. This is a big missing piece. Nine out of ten women leaving shelter don't plan to return to their spouse, but almost half don't know where they'll live."

"Women escaping violence turn to shelters on a daily basis," says Lise Martin, Executive Director of the Canadian Network of Women's Shelters and Transition Houses, which is launching their first national shelter Data Count. "Shelters are a crucial stepping stone on the journey to safer lives. The Data Count will provide a snapshot of life in a shelter, and information on the major challenges facing shelters and shelter workers."

"What this country needs is the creation of opportunities for young women to be heard on the issues," says 2013 Person's Award Youth Recipient, Julie Lalonde of Hollaback! Ottawa. "As advocates, we don't need to be telling young women to protect themselves. We need to be telling men that sexual assault is wrong. We need to be educating young men about consent, about seeing women as equals, not as objects."

"A National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women has the potential to spark a public conversation that challenges deep-seated attitudes in Canada," says Ann Decter, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at YWCA Canada. "This country still has a long road to travel from policies of assimilation and abuse to a renewed Canada based on respect for rights and dedicated to ending violence against First Nation, Métis and Inuit women."

Women across federal political parties are supporting the launch of the annual Rose Campaign, which occurs in more than 30 communities nation-wide, and runs until December 6. For more information, visit rosecampaign.ca.

About YWCA Canada:
YWCA Canada is the country's oldest and largest women's multi-service organization.  With 33 Member Associations across the country, our Turning Point Programs for Women™ serve women and girls in nine provinces and two territories. YWCA Canada is the nation's single largest provider of shelter to women and children fleeing violence, the second largest provider of childcare services, and an active member of the World YWCA. For more information visit www.ywcacanada.ca, find us on Twitter @YWCA_Canada or at www.facebook.com/ywcacanada.

SOURCE: YWCA Canada

For further information:

For an interview with:

Paulette Senior, CEO, YWCA Canada, contact Laura Tilley, Communications & Marketing Manager at 416.962.8881 x 233.

Lise Martin, Executive Director, Canadian Network of Women's Shelters and Transition Houses, contact 613.680.5119

Julie Lalonde, 2013 Persons Award Winner, Hollaback! Ottawa, contact 613.301.2697

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YWCA Canada

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