Monday, 26 October 2009

YWCA document gets little or no attention.

Perhaps they should have chosen a headline that screeched "honour" killings!

But unlike the rabid and pathologically anti-feminist Naomi Lakritz and Barbara Kay, the women of the YWCA don't profit from peddling cheap shots at human misery.

No, they're more the 'roll-up-your-sleeves and pitch in to help' type of gals. In this October 13 media release, they say:

A new report by YWCA Canada, the country's largest provider of shelter for women, calls on all three levels of government to coordinate policies on violence against women. Life Beyond Shelter, released today by YWCAs across the country, points to the causal connection between domestic violence and women's homelessness, highlighting poverty, housing, the legal environment, life in the North and the exclusion of marginalized women as critical barriers for women seeking to move beyond violence.

"Over 100,000 women and children enter shelters in Canada annually," says Paulette Senior, CEO of YWCA Canada. "They leave their homes, communities and jobs in a courageous effort to build a new life. And what happens once they leave the shelter? It's a long story of poverty, a struggle to provide for their children, and constant risk of homelessness. It doesn't have to be this way. This report is a game plan for change with a very clear message."

Life Beyond Shelter cites the implementation of coordinated policies at all three levels of government and across parallel jurisdictions as the only possibility for an effective national response. Policies must recognize the realities and vulnerabilities of women in Canada's north, and address the needs of Aboriginal women nationwide.

"Women and children need to live safely beyond shelter, with dignity, without fear of stalking, abuse and homelessness," says principal report researcher and family law expert Pamela Cross, "to achieve that, it is absolutely necessary for people at every level of government to collaborate."

"Shelters are the first and most immediate line of defence, but shelter is not a permanent solution," says Ann Decter, YWCA Canada's Director of Advocacy and Public Policy. "We need to stop violence before it starts, the same way we take the keys out of the hands of a driver who's been drinking. We need a broad change in attitude. Tens of thousands of women and children should not be forced into shelter each year."

Canada's YWCAs have a strong history of advocacy for women who find themselves in difficult circumstances. And the women's Ys have evolved, expanding the foundation of their volunteer membership and directing those resources to places where they're needed.

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