A domestic abuse survivor in Williams Lake would like to see shelter for women and children developed in a rural setting.
“Someone who has been through it can speak louder than anyone else,” said Abigail Symes who appeared at the committee of the whole meeting Tuesday, Feb. 28, asking city council for a letter of support.
“There is a lot of funding available through the federal and provincial government for non-profit organizations. This support from the council would also be for finding a suitable place.”
Symes said she envisions a shelter that could have two stages: the first stage would allow women to stay for up to 30 days and the second stage with give them the opportunity to stay longer because she said women need more than 30 days to find a new home.
Coun. Joan Flaspohler thanked Symes for making the presentation and bringing her concerns to council.
“It takes courage and energy to come in front of this entity and the community,” Flaspohler said, adding she was sure council would be happy in being able to support a type of forward development in the issue that Symes brought forward.
She asked Symes if she has worked with the Women’s Contact Society or Chiwid House, the transition house operated by the Cariboo Friendship Society within the city of Williams Lake.
Council Scott Nelson made a motion that council endorse and support a second shelter and that a meeting be set up with the Women’s Contact Society executive director Irene Willsie.
The motion was passed and then endorsed unanimously on Tuesday, March 7 at the regular council meeting.
Symes said the location would have to be unlisted with security, have a community garden specific for the shelter and the ability to bring in required resources such as RCMP, Victim Services and Ministry of Children and Family.
After 11 years of continuous abuse, she made the choice to leave, she said.
”I’ve made the choice to step up and try to help others end the cycle, reach out and ask for support.”
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