Healing from domestic violence in our house
Camrose Women’s Shelter executive director Nora-Lee Rear discusses the Walk-a-Mile campaign last year. It is one of the fundraisers that helps them provide many services to the community. File photo/Camrose Canadian
I could tell you that the women’s shelter has been in Camrose for over 30 years. Or, I could tell you the shelter is partially government funded and the shelter funds the rest through fundraising with events like Walk A Mile in Her Shoes, but this is likely fairly well-known knowledge because the shelter has been in the paper many times over its 30 plus years.
I’d much rather tell you about the awesome care the women and children receive when they get to the shelter. First off, the shelter is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and crisis intervention workers are available to answer the phone day and night, as a crisis can happen any time.
Financially, it doesn’t cost anything to stay at the shelter and we work hard to remove as many barriers as possible so that women and children who experience domestic violence can receive the care they need and have a safe environment to start the process of healing the longstanding effects of domestic violence. Like most households, when someone stays at the shelter, they are responsible for the care of their own children, and in order to contribute a bit, everyone completes a chore each day.
The shelter provides a cook that works five days a week and makes lunch and supper meals. Breakfast at the shelter, is usually a continental breakfast and weekend meals are either prepared ahead of time or they are simple meals like pizza, easy for popping in the oven by the busy crisis intervention workers.
Although everyone is responsible for their own children, the shelter has a child care department consisting of 1.5 child support workers, who provide child care under the daycare licensing regulations of Alberta. Appointments for daycare services can be made with child support whenever a mom has an appointment, like viewing an apartment or house, going to a medical appointment, going to Alberta Works to secure financial support, or for appointments with the crisis intervention workers to review their goals and progress, or to attend an in-house group or other business to help her move forward with her life.
The shelter has a school room staffed by a Battle River School Division teacher and school-aged children are expected to go to school Monday through Friday except for BRSD holidays and teacher conventions.
The outreach department has three outreach workers one of which is the outreach worker, a child and youth care counsellor, and me, the community outreach worker. I work directly with women and men who have reasons why they do not wish to be supported by living in the shelter but still want the support the shelter can offer them. The other two outreach workers support women as they are transitioning into living in the community from the shelter and the outreach community child and youth counsellor works with the children of women and men who do or don’t not come into shelter.
In total the shelter has about 20 staff, excluding the executive director, program manager, the outreach coordinator, family support coordinator, administrative assistant, and volunteer coordinator who helps support the shelter to ensure it runs smoothly — well as smoothly as possible within the chaos of the ever-present shadow of the effects of domestic violence.
Although this has been a small overview of the shelter and the care the women receive while being at the shelter, I will cover each department in more depth over the coming months. So, until next month, be kind to one another and create a good day.