In 1980, the Status of Women Council of Corner Brook called a public meeting to discuss the issue of family violence. The number of calls received by the Women's Centre from battered women and other concerned people indicated a real need for services for victims of family violence. At a public meeting, a committee was set up to deal with this concern.
The objectives of the committee were to provide education to the public and to seek facilities to assist victims. A grant was received to carry out research to establish the need for a refuge for battered women. It found that, in a ten-month period, 231 cases of wife abuse had been reported in the Corner Brook area alone.
During the next three years, constant lobbying of the public, businesses, community groups and governments, both provincial and federal, resulted in funding for the establishment of a refuge for battered women and their children from the West Coast and Great Northern Peninsula. Staff were hired in September 1983, and underwent a staff development-training program. The House was officially opened in November 1983.
This brief history does not document the labor, perseverance, commitment and ingenuity that the establishment of a new shelter demanded. Nor does it fully recognize that transition houses are primarily geared to stopping spousal abuse after it has happened. Community groups and national organizations need to work towards a solution before it happens by changing the social conditions that make women vulnerable to victimization.
Services Offered to Women and Children
We provide a supportive, safe environment in which women can make decisions about their future and help them obtain services like legal aid, health and community resources, medical help, accommodations and employment counseling.
It is important to stress that staff assist women. The majority of these women, because of their home situation, have weak decision-making skills, so the philosophy of the House is to help them understand and develop self-help skills.
Referral for employment counseling is important for those who have not recently worked outside their homes and now have a need and will to do so. In a nonjudgmental and supportive manner, staff listen to the women, explain options and allow them to make their choices.
It is recognized that all children who enter the House have experienced the trauma of a family breakdown. This experience has had major negative impact on some children while others are only mildly troubled. The Children's Services Worker attempts to meet the needs of all children admitted to the House.
The House operates collectively - residents take part in the house maintenance and cooking as well as their personal care needs. Regular residents' meetings are held to assign chores and menus, air complaints and review situations. Individual's communal workloads are relieved with staff assistance so that there is time and energy available for the women to work on their concerns.
If you need us … we are:
Committee on Family Violence
Questions/Comments about the site email to: Donna Leonard