Moncton organization fights to help women and children experiencing violence
Crossroads for Women hopes never to be able to turn down a call for help, but rising living costs, a lack of available housing and unexpected expenses mean the organization is struggling to keep up.
The Moncton-based organization provides resources, shelter and crisis intervention for victims of intimate partner violence and sexual violence.
Crossroads for Women chief executive Chantal Poirier said the number of calls they receive from victims has increased during the pandemic, but that number has now tripled.
Poirier said they sometimes get calls when they don’t have a place at the shelter, although they then turn to community partners for help.
“I don’t see not being able to help as an option,” she said. “We find a way.”
Crossroads for Women has had to make some cuts, according to Poirier, such as a service they used to offer where someone from the organization accompanied a victim of sexual violence to the hospital.
“Either the RCMP or the hospital would call us and ask us to put someone in,” she said. “We just can’t offer that service right now and it breaks our hearts.”
Poirier tells Information tomorrow Moncton that the group has the support of the provincial government, but executive directors are “holding their breath” for the additional funding needed to maintain support as costs continue to mount.
“I don’t think it’s about pointing the finger at not getting enough support,” she said. “I just think it’s a matter of re-evaluation.”
The New Brunswick Department of Social Development said in a statement it is doing everything possible to support the operation and programming of transitional shelters for women and children who are victims of intimate partner violence, including an annual investment of $3.87 million U.S. dollar.
According to the ministry, there are 14 transitional shelters in New Brunswick, totaling 205 beds for women.
They are working to complete a review of the available programs with various ministers to clarify the sector’s future funding needs.
Poirier said the low vacancy rate in Moncton is also putting pressure on the organisation. Women are now staying at the Crossroads for six to eight months because they can’t find any other accommodation than the 30 days it used to be.
“We’re trying to last as long as we can,” said Poirier. “But obviously by doing that we’re taking up space for someone who might call us. So it’s a vicious circle when it comes to an organization that supports these women. There just isn’t enough space.”