Over the past 15 years the Rowan House Society has been providing residents of the Foothills a "Safe Exit" option for women and children experiencing abusive situations and domestic violence.

Along with providing community outreach and preventative education, the crew has maintained a 24 bed facility within the Town of High River.

Rowan House will have a busy month ahead of it, as they work to deal with an increased demand for their emergency shelter following the holiday season.

Rowan House Executive Director Sherrie Botten says, for the last few years on New Years Day, they've experienced a "bump" in the need for their shelter services.

"Research came out in December, based on the statistics from the Calgary Police, showing that there was a spike of domestic violence calls on New Years Day. For the past three years we have also had increased intakes, women coming into the shelter on New Years Day. We are currently full, and we were not full during the Christmas week. After Christmas we've had several calls, and an intake on New Years Day."

Botten says that it's difficult to pinpoint exactly why the shelter receives this annual intake spike, however holiday demands may be related.

"It really is something we see regularly. We do know that sometimes women will try to keep it together during the Christmas season, or potentially around a child's birthday. With all the stresses during a family time, during Christmas or during holidays that can be very difficult for some people, can lead to an increase in domestic violence."

With the new year rolling around, Botten says for some individuals, it's about turning over a new leaf.

"The other thing is, perhaps it's the beginning of the year and people want to start fresh, we don't know exactly what the reasons are, but we do know we get a seasonal spike in emergency shelter demand."

The short term emergency shelter continues to help women and children, and aims to re-orient disparaged families to stable housing on a monthly basis.


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