POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 109 One thing that would make things better? “Access to safe, affordable and permanent housing options. We find that this is one of the main reasons that women end up going back to the abusive relationships time and time again.” PRIVATE THOUGHTS ON A PUBLIC CRISIS: SURVIVORS SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS • “It was not my fault.” • “Thanks so much for all you have given. Your support and house gave me a safe refuge from the storm of my life.” • “Don’t give up on us because so many of us have already given up on ourselves.” • “In one day I went from being acutely stressed to hopeful.” • “I came here a caterpillar and left a butterfly. Thank you for your help and support. I couldn’t have done it without you.” • “This is the best and safest place to live ever!” — from a nine year old child • “I need you, please don’t give up on me.” “Coming from a life of abuse, I have never been treated with such kindness and respect.” “It’s so hard to watch how the system wears women down, especially when they have so many barriers, that they want to give up. That’s why we care so much because every woman should feel like she has a chance to make it.” continued... continued... IF YOU WERE ABLE TO CHANGE ONE THING Shelters were asked if they were able to change one thing that would make things better for abused women and their children what would it be? • Affordable and safe housing • Comprehensive and promptly responsive legal system • Income and social support • Interconnected and continuous services “Greater financial support from social services so women are not choosing between a life with violence or a life in poverty.” “Immediate court decisions that would allow moms to start rebuilding their lives.” “Recent immigration changes (Bill C–38), disadvantages immigrant women who are victims of abuse — they are doubly victimized.” “Need for greater education within schools as violence starts earlier and earlier.”