Women's shel­ter in Car­bon­ear opens

The Compass - - NEWS - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

A new re­source for women in abu­sive re­la­tion­ships is now ready to pro­vide an es­cape for those who need it most.

O'Shaugh­nessy House in Car­bon­ear will serve women in the lo­cal area who may be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing phys­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal, emo­tional, sex­ual, or eco­nomic abuse at the hands of a part­ner.

The tran­si­tion house, lo­cated in the for­mer nun­nery next to St. Pa­trick's Ro­man Catholic Church, is as­so­ci­ated with Iris Kirby House in St. John's.

The of­fi­cial open­ing took place on Fri­day, and was at­tended by Car­bon­ear-Har­bour Grace MHA Jerome Kennedy, as well as Iris Kirby House ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Gail Tobin.

Car­bon­ear mayor Sam Slade says his town will do what­ever it can to of­fer sup­port to the new shel­ter for women and their chil­dren. “ We're go­ing to be there to do that.” Slade expressed mixed feel­ings about the site. While he says it's great news O'Shaugh­nessy House will be avail­able as an op­tion for women and their chil­dren, he is equally dis­ap­pointed such a place needs to ex­ist in a so­ci­ety that should be well aware of the neg­a­tive im­pact of all forms of abuse.

“ There's no way in the world we should have to have such a fa­cil­ity, but we've got it, and it's out there. We need to do what we can as a town and a coun­cil to ed­u­cate peo­ple about abuse,” says Slade.

The site will of­fer a closer-to-home al­ter­na­tive for women in abu­sive re­la­tion­ships, who pre­vi­ously had to travel to St. John's and live at Iris Kirby House if they were seek­ing refuge from abuse.

Ac­cord­ing to Statis­tics Canada, over half of women over 16 years-of-age have ex­pe­ri­enced at least one in­ci­dent of phys­i­cal or sex­ual vi­o­lence, and in 2004 al­most 60,000 women in Canada made use of a shel­ter.

Women in an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship seek­ing help can call a toll-free cri­sis line at 1-888-5968709.

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