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Greater Victoria women’s shelter adds second safe harbour

Costs soar as need does for Greater Victoria Women’s Transition House Society
The Greater Victoria Women’s Transition House Society provides an essential service and has only seen an uptick in need since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Pixabay)

A Greater Victoria non-profit that helps women escape intimate partner violence says the need has more than tripled since the start of the pandemic.

As an essential service, Victoria Women’s Transition House has remained open and operational throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization continues to provide safe emergency shelter, counselling and support for women and their children impacted by violence and abuse.

“We’ve had to open a second shelter because of so many women reaching out for help and needing emergency shelter,” said Susan Howard, development director for Victoria Women’s Transition House Society.

The organization sourced a second shelter site and now offers three times as many people a safe harbour. The new site also allows for those with a need to self-isolate.

READ ALSO: Pandemic leaves Greater Victoria women more vulnerable to domestic violence

As intimate partner violence is a complex issue, the society provides non-judgemental service. There is no advice, just information, resources and support to help anyone who identifies as a woman make decisions about her future, Howard said.

With triple the aid being provided, the society’s costs have also soared, while volunteer and donation capabilities have dropped.

April 11 to 17 is provincial Prevention of Violence Against Women Week and in anticipation of Mother’s Day, the Victoria Women’s Transition House is honouring mother figures with its latest fundraising campaign.

Honour a mom, favourite grandma or auntie, a thoughtful neighbour, a helpful mentor or friend and acknowledge the courageous women who have stepped forward, overcome adversity, reclaimed their freedom and broken away from a life of violence and abuse.

With a tribute gift, the honouree receives a personal gift on the giver’s behalf and the gift-giver receives a tax receipt.

READ ALSO: Reports of domestic, intimate partner violence continue to rise during pandemic

Physical donations cannot be accepted right now, but donations can be made online at

Anyone in immediate danger should call 911. A woman not in immediate danger can call the Transition House 24-hour crisis line at 250-385-6611 for resources and help.

“The most dangerous time for a woman is the time she decides to leave her abusive partner,” Howard said. “That’s why we encourage women to call the line, and staff can walk them through a safe plan.”

Men in need of help and resources can call the Pacific Centre for the Family at 1-866-478-8357 or the Men’s Trauma Centre 1-866-793-6367.


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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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