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Christmas can be a dangerous time for women

Holiday Hope Campaign can help
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Business booms at this time of year almost everywhere and sadly shelters for abused women are part of that reality.

The Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses reports a 30 percent increase in domestic violence at Christmas.

Typically, shelters will see an influx of women in the New Year.

Women tough it out for the kids over Christmas but then the bills start coming in, drinking ramps up and the anger and violence can start to escalate. 

"We tend to see the increase after the holidays. The abuse may be escalating over the holidays but women are leaving after the holidays." Lisa Spinks-Smith, development manager at the Women and Children's Shelter of Barrie.

Right now, the Barrie shelter is over capacity and is often full, according to Spinks-Smith.

"It's a sign that this issue is not going away," she said. 

The shelter has launched its Holiday Hope Campaign which asks the community to sponsor a woman or child for the cost of a one-day stay at $17 or one week at $120.

The government provides funding for 27 beds but the shelter needs to raise just over 20 percent of operating costs to sustain its services.

"When they're here with us we pay for everything," said Spinks-Smith.

The shelter has been helping women fleeing intimate partner violence since 1981, offering a safe refuge while women construct a new life. 

"The shelter works to empower women and help them with safety planning and move on from the partner that is abusing them,"  Spinks-Smith explains.

There are around-the-clock counsellors, child care and help connecting with community resources. 

You can donate to the Holiday Hope Campaign online at 



Sue Sgambati

About the Author: Sue Sgambati

Sue has had a 30-year career in journalism working for print, radio and TV. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
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