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More domestic abuse supports needed in rural Saskatchewan: survivor
Published Tuesday, March 12, 2019 5:04PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, March 12, 2019 6:56PM CST
Danielle Rands says it took her two years before she finally decided to seek help and file an official police report about the domestic abuse she suffered – a decision she says was largely due to a lack of support in or near her Kamsack-area town.
“I didn’t want to wake up, it was heart breaking,” Rands told CTV Yorkton. “It started off with tickling and then it got worse and worse to the point where he would hold me on the ground.”
Rands says the abuse happened while dating her now ex-boyfriend in 2016.
According to a Statistics Canada report released in 2017, Saskatchewan has the highest rate of police reported intimate partner violence in the country.
Statistics Canada also reports interpersonal partner violence is nearly two time higher in rural areas compared to urban areas nationally.
“They’re not going to get any better,” said Melissa Coomber-Bendsten with YWCA Regina. “They have not dropped even though crime rates across our province have dropped, the rates of intimate partner violence haven’t dropped.”
For victims in rural communities, support isn’t always close by.
Rands drives over an hour for counselling at Shelwin House, a Yorkton-based women’s shelter.
“There are no services in the small outlying areas so Yorkton is often the centre for people to come to but not everyone is comfortable doing that,” said Susan Weinheimer with Shelwin House.
The provincial government says it’s working to increase this type of support in rural communities.
“We have done a pretty aggressive job as a government on this file,” said Tina Beaudry-Mellor, minister for the status of women. “We have done a lot of work to expand the number of shelters, so we built the last shelter which was in Melfort.”
Rands says more supports are needed and hopes to see a solution soon.
“Whether there’s a town hall where they can have a meeting in or somewhere we can get it out there that it’s happening,” Rands said.
Based on a report by CTV Yorkton's Alessandra Carneiro