The Canadian Network of Women's Shelters and Transition Houses (CNWSTH) distributes an annual survey to provide a snapshot of a day of the life of Canadian women's shelters, it continues to confirms a need for further resources!
Children’s Colouring/Activity Book for Women’s Shelters
The Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters has developed this Colouring/Activity Book for children who are entering shelter. It is intended to provide an age-appropriate way of helping children to understand and talk about their experiences. Throughout the book, the children are introduced to Ashley and Andrew, as well as their stuffed animals Mosoca and Makwa. These four characters take children through topics such as entering the shelter, safety planning, understanding that the abuse is not their fault, what abuse is, and feelings.
This activity book is designed for staff/caregivers to do with children, providing a mixture of activities for children of various ages. The activities are all meant to be interactive between the staff and the children.
Learning Through Our Clients Eyes
In an attempt to better understand the needs of women accessing shelter services and to improve the services offered, MAWS members undertook Learning Through Our Clients Eyes. a report funded through Status of Women Canada. MAWS was able to reference similar studies conducted in Southwestern Ontario and Saskatchewan. As with other shelter associations we intend this paper to be a beginning point for discussion among shelters and other stakeholders.
This report is divided into three sections. Section One reports on community agencies' knowledge and perceptions of shelters; Section Two is demographical information on who is using Manitoba shelters; and Section Three is women's own words and experiences with shelter services.
Highlights of "Learning Through our Clients Eyes":
- 85% of community agencies surveyed have referred to their local shelter in the last six months
- 70% of women in shelter identified as Aboriginal
- 57% of women in shelter did not graduate from high school
- 42% of women were on social assistance
- More than 1/3 of women had a medical diagnosis of mental and/or physical illness
- 48% of women had requested police intervention in the last six months
- 66% of women had been in shelter before
- 52% of women requested follow-up services when leaving the shelter
- Improved children's services was the area most identified for improvement
- Myths and misconceptions still exists for those women who use shelters