New data released from the YWCA Calgary says that women are now using shelter services for much longer that they have in the past six years.

According to a release, women who use shelter facilities are also bringing their children with them to escape their situations.

The YWCA completed a study on the YWCA Sheriff King Home Emergency Shelter.

The average length of stay has increased from 14 nights in 2002-2004 to 17 nights in 2006-2010.

The demographics of the women that use the shelter have also changed:

  • The number of Aboriginal women in the shelter rose from 32% in 2002 to 41% in 2010
  • The number of visible minority women staying in the shelter rose from 14% in 2002 to 25% in 2010
  • 64% of the women using the shelter in 2010 were unemployed, compared to 42% in 2002

The YWCA also says that 70% of the women using the shelter had children with them, and 73% had experienced physical abuse.

They say that the 42 beds in the Sheriff King Home are consistently filled and they’ve been forced to turn away over 29,000 because of a lack of space.

“We can’t help all those who experience family violence, but we can and do make a difference to the women and children coming through our doors. We have an opportunity to make a difference for generations to come,” says Suzanne Shust, manager of Shelter Services at Sheriff King.