The Bow Valley Women’s Emergency Shelter (BVWES) is dedicated to supporting women and their children who are fleeing violent situations. Operated by the YWCA, services include safety planning, referrals, counselling, access to food, clothing, and transportation and a safe place to stay for women and their children.
Most of us look forward to returning home at the end of a long day. Our home is our sanctuary. Imagine if you were afraid to go home. Imagine if you feared spending your evening being assaulted and trying to protect your children from violence. What if you were afraid that your life would end at the hands of someone you loved – possibly leaving your children in their care? What if you felt you had nowhere to go?
While we are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth; Alberta also has one of the highest rates of domestic violence and abuse in Canada. The Bow Valley is not immune. Violence against women transcends cultural, ethnic and socio-economic conditions. It includes physical or sexual violence as well as emotional, verbal and or financial abuse. Many factors contribute to abuse including financial stress, housing issues, parenting challenges and natural disasters – familiar themes in the expensive, housing-crunched Bow Valley.
Local facilities are limited and the program receives no operating funds for the facility. Cost recovery is fully reliant on fundraising initiatives and revenues from the YWCA Banff Hotel. A grant from the Alberta Government department of Human Services covers some staffing support for counselling and outreach services.