Calgary Sun

Wednesday, June 30, 1999

Men included


Abusive men will be kept under the same roof as their wives and children following expansion of a city shelter for battered women.

The $2-million blueprint for the new YWCA Sheriff King Family Violence Prevention Centre will see the southeast facility grow a third larger, while previously shunned men will be welcomed inside along with their families.

"The women had asked us for programs for their men and said it would be easier for the family if they could come to the same place," said Eva Friesen, chief executive of the YWCA.

"We felt that when men get serviced, their violence diminishes and that's one of the answers, that men get serviced, too."

The expansion, announced yesterday, will bring seven extra beds to the 28-bed shelter, add 50% more space and improve the current building with such amenities as air conditioning.

The YWCA has already raised $1.3 million of the cash needed.

Officials hope construction will start in February 2000 on what will be the first family shelter in Western Canada.

Police Chief Christine Silverberg, who blames abuse for provoking crimes ranging from drugs to prostitution, said the new Sheriff King Centre may finally provide real help to families.

"Here, those affected, including the abused, the abusers and their families, will be brought together to receive the full range of services," said Silverberg.

"There will be far more than protection and arms length programs -- there will be healing," said Silverberg.

Mayor Al Duerr, who also attended yesterday's expansion ceremony, said the need for extra shelter space is a mixed blessing for the city.

"It's terribly unfortunate that these facilities are necessary and that they need to be expanded," said Duerr.

"But Calgary is a product of the society we live in, one that for far too long ignored this problem. Domestic violence was the silent killer."

Copyright© 1999, Canoe Limited Partnership.