Flu keeping beds empty at women’s shelter

After a busy summer and fall, there are more empty beds at the women’s shelter in Red Deer — but that’s only because H1N1 flu has hit the facility where women and children go to escape domestic violence.

After a busy summer and fall, there are more empty beds at the women’s shelter in Red Deer — but that’s only because H1N1 flu has hit the facility where women and children go to escape domestic violence.

“We’re only admitting women with significant risk issues because we’ve already got the flu in the shelter,” said Ian Wheeliker executive director at Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter Society.

He said only half of the 36 beds are in use and about 50 per cent of clients have the flu.

“We’re not turning away women that are in risk. What we’re doing is working with other area shelters in Rocky and Camrose,” Wheeliker said on Friday at Red Deer City Hall, where Mayor Morris Flewwelling proclaimed November as Family Violence Prevention Month.

A public health nurse visits the Red Deer shelter every two weeks and on Monday vaccinated clients and staff.

Last summer, which is usually a busy time for the Red Deer shelter, most of the beds were in use.

“Last year, we had 718 women and children come through the shelter and in 2009 it looks like there’s going to be even more than that.”

Wheeliker said the increase is likely due to economic stress on families.

“Stressors don’t cause domestic violence but it usually intensifies domestic violence.”

About 25 per cent of clients have been exposed to physical violence, a trend that has remained steady in recent years.

“Most of our clients are coming in because they’ve been exposed to emotional and verbal violence and threats of physical violence or death threats.”

The majority of women who seek shelter are aged 18 to 27 with young children.

Red Deer City RCMP’s domestic violence unit investigates about 150 files per month, up from 60 to 80 files three years ago when the unit was formed.

Wheeliker said about six months ago, agencies started to notice more women moving to Red Deer from the rural area specifically so they could access domestic violence programs, including the RCMP.

“The smaller detachments in the rural area don’t have the resources to have dedicated domestic violence unit members.”

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Canada caught between 2 powers, feeling alone in the world

TORONTO — First U.S. President Donald Trump attacked Canada on trade. Then… Continue reading

Carbon pricing is most efficient way to cut emissions, Canadian Chamber says

OTTAWA — Canada’s largest business group has endorsed a carbon tax as… Continue reading

Tory senators stalling laws for political advantage, Independents say

OTTAWA — Conservative senators are being accused of deliberately stalling Liberal government… Continue reading

Police across Canada probe bomb threats as U.S. authorities dismiss ‘hoax’

TORONTO — Police forces in cities across Canada investigated multiple bomb threats… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

Canadian freestyle skier Karker excited for Dew Tour’s modified superpipe

Rachael Karker has a renewed sense of confidence heading into her second… Continue reading

CBS settled with Dushku over ‘Bull’ star’s sexual comments

LOS ANGELES — CBS reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement last year… Continue reading

Kanye reignites Drake feud on Twitter, alleges threats

LOS ANGELES — Kanye West is not sending Christmas cheer to Drake.… Continue reading

Councillors in Toronto, Ottawa vote to allow retail cannabis stores

TORONTO — Councillors in Toronto have voted to allow retail pot shops… Continue reading

Barry Cooper: Separation has become a real possibility, thanks to Ottawa’s abuses

In the past couple of weeks, a retired senior oil executive, Gwyn… Continue reading

Sex assault trial for former gymnastics coach resumes in Sarnia

SARNIA, Ont. — The trial of a former high-ranking gymnastics coach accused… Continue reading

Victims of former ski coach Charest say they were ‘sacrificed’ by Alpine Canada

MONTREAL — A lawsuit filed Wednesday against Alpine Canada by three victims… Continue reading

Most Read