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Collingwood shelter supporting abused women reports record demand for services


A shelter in Collingwood that offers support for abused women and children is dealing with an influx in demand for services and is forced to turn some away.

My Friends' House has been operational for more than thirty years, but with record-breaking service needs, it just can't keep up.

"We received over 3,900 crisis calls to our phone line alone in 2023, and if you break that down, that's 10 calls a day," noted Jodi Petitpas, the shelter's senior development and communications manager.

Petitpas says they see women as young as 18, and as more women seek services and safety, the organization would have to double bed capacity from 12 to 24 to meet demand.

"I think there is a stigma out there that women seeking support are of lower financial status, but that's not the case," said Petitpas. "And there is a lot of shame surrounding gender-based violence and things like that happening in their home."

"Women are experiencing violence. There is no one immune to it, so we have to make sure that we do handle the situation like we would in any larger organization," noted Ciara O'Connell, the shelter's events and community relations manager.

The organization is in the early stages of planning a campaign to help fund an expansion project to meet the rising demand from women seeking shelter and support. Top Stories

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