CAW Donates to Four Toronto Women's Shelters, 50 Shelters Across the Country

March 10, 2010, 8:30 AM EST

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This week, the CAW will donate $100,000 to women's shelters across the country, including four facilities in Toronto.

In Toronto, Peggy Nash, assistant to CAW President Ken Lewenza, will be touring the Redwood Shelter for women and children and presenting a cheque. CAW representatives will be presenting these cheques to shelters across Canada. The donations come from the union's Social Justice Fund, monies negotiated to help support socially-progressive projects and causes both in Canada and abroad.

According to recent estimates, half of all women will experience violence in one form or another, but only 10 per cent will report it. Up to 80 per cent of those perpetrating the violence are spouses, partners or ex-spouses. In fact, only five per cent of women are unable to identify their abuser.

Every year in our country, tens of thousands of women with their children are admitted to shelters. "We know that when women leave their abusive partners, this is a particularly dangerous time for them," said Nash. "Half of the murders committed by ex-spouses happen in the first two months of separation, which is a chilling statistic. It is at this time that women are most in need of protection and the many services provided by shelters."

Today gender based violence has been identified as the world's largest and most persistent human rights violation, and Canada is no exception. The federal government estimates the costs of violence against women at $1.1 billion per year in direct medical costs, rising to $4 billion a year after we factor in the costs of criminal justice, social services and lost productivity.

"If governments are serious about combating the unrelenting problem of violence against women, they must commit to funding for women's shelters, invest in affordable housing and a national child care program, all of which provide women the options necessary to leave violent relationships," said Nash. "While individual donations go a long way in helping, they cannot erase the very real systemic issues that allow violence to continue."

In addition to making an annual donation, the CAW is urging the federal and provincial governments to provide core funding to agencies which provide services to women and their children who are fleeing violent relationships.

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