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

Red Deer group looking to keep roads safe for cyclists

A Red Deer cycling group is concerned about road safety after multiple… Continue reading

Smoke and pets do not mix

Take care of your pets during the smoky weather

Former Red Deer lawyer sentenced

Charges included possession of stolen property

Man causes mischief with axe in Ponoka

Arson and attempted break and enter charges laid

WATCH: Raising money for kids at the Gord Bamford Charity Golf Classic

Former NHL players, Olympians, pro rodeo circuit members and musicians teed off… Continue reading

Oilpatch fears delays as U.S. judge orders further review of KXL pipeline route

CALGARY — Potential delays in the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline… Continue reading

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin dies at 76

NEW YORK — Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” who sang… Continue reading

Arrests in Burnaby, B.C., as order against Kinder Morgan protest camp enforced

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters Thursday as officers enforced a… Continue reading

‘Hot and dirty work:’ Commander describes fighting massive Ontario wildfire

BRITT, Ont. — From a helicopter flying over a smouldering swath of… Continue reading

Calgary Fire Department logs record opioid overdose calls in July

CALGARY — The Calgary Fire Department says there were a record number… Continue reading

RCMP in Burnaby, B.C., say Kinder Morgan protest camp to be dismantled

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters when officers enforced a court… Continue reading

Study: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

NEW YORK — If you quit smoking and gain weight, it may… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month