Survey – Developing a National Profile of Women’s Shelters

Ottawa, 19 September 2017

Women’s Shelters Canada has launched a national survey on women’s shelters and transition houses (THs) to strengthen the women’s shelter sector in Canada. The survey is part of a larger grant provided by Status of Women Canada.

The survey will be instrumental in allowing us to demonstrate the extent of shelter work across the country. Data collected will help with public education and awareness, illuminating the extensive and life saving work that shelters and THs do.

After a slow roll out this summer, we have now fully launched the survey, sending survey links to all women’s shelters and THs across the country. The response has been encouraging so far, with over 125 surveys already completed from coast to coast to coast. We hope that all shelters and THs in Canada participate so that we can develop as comprehensive a profile as possible.

“I just want to thank you for your work on this. It is extremely important and it keeps the conversation going!” (anonymous survey respondent)

“We look forward to seeing the outcomes of this survey!” (anonymous survey respondent)

“Thank you for taking this step and giving us a voice.” (anonymous survey respondent)

Many people still believe that shelters/THs only provide a bed, a roof, and safety for women and their children.  We know that shelters do much more than that, but we don’t have the numbers to back it up. Much of the research conducted about shelters, such as the StatsCan Transition Home Survey (July 2015), focuses on the women who use shelters and their services. This survey is different in that its focus is not on the clients that are served, but rather the shelters themselves. The purpose of our survey is to illustrate the scope of the shelter sector and provide reliable, up-to date information on shelter capacity, infrastructure, services, funding, and staffing structures across the country.

In our conversations with provincial shelter associations, individual shelters/THs, and through our annual Shelter Voices Survey, we often hear how much shelters are doing with so little. The lack of sustainable and adequate funding has many impacts on shelters, staff, and the women and children who use the services offered. However, we do not have sufficient data or numbers to back up these claims – in our work with partners and stakeholders, we often get requests for “the numbers.” This data will better empower us to do the advocacy work needed to ensure that the work of shelters is given due recognition.

For more details, see our website

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For media enquiries, contact:

Lise Martin / Executive Director
613.680.5119 (w) / 613.899.3392 (c) / lmartin@endvaw.ca

Women’s Shelters Canada brings together 14 provincial and territorial shelter organizations. We work as a unified voice to collaborate, educate, and innovate for systemic change that ends violence against women, making Canada a model for safety in the world.