Currently in Canada, hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent on women's
shelters across Canada. The Family Justice Review Committee acknowledges
that there are indeed a number of women (and men) who are abused by
their partners and in need of a place of temporary shelter during these times of
However, information gathered by Canada Court Watch from a number of
credible sources including information and testimony from former women
residents, children who were residents and former shelter managers, clearly
indicate that there is another side to the women's shelter system which the
public is largely unaware of. Canada Court Watch has obtained video
testimony from both children and former women residents which would
indicate that a number of
women and children are being abused, threatened, brainwashed, intimated and
assaulted while inside some of the government funded women's shelters and
which is going unreported. There would appear to be widespread abuse of tax
Some of the disturbing information that has been reported to
Canada Court Watch by various sources include:
That many of the women who work
in women’s shelters hate men and that one of their goals is to spread their
hate to the other women who come to the shelter. Women in shelters are
put under pressure to take their husbands to court and to keep the children
from seeing their fathers. Some of the women's shelters are operated like anti-male bunkers
which spread hate while putting up a facade to the community that they are helping women and
That very violent women with criminal records of abuse against their spouses
and even their children are being allowed to stay at
shelters in the presence of children. Some women who are known to have
abused their children are given refused without question.
That some shelter workers have fraudulently taken money
given to shelters by taxpayers and through donations and have used the money
and donations for personal gain. Women who have stayed in shelters
have reported shelter workers taking donations of food and clothing for
That women who are fleeing from authorities, sometimes with
children they have abducted, have used women's shelters to hide out and have never been
asked as the the circumstances as to why they are at the shelter with their
children. Police are barred from entering many of the shelters, even
if looking for women who may have arrest warrants against them and who
police suspect may be hiding in a shelter.
That some children in the shelters cry and want to see
their fathers but are denied meaningful contact with the fathers even when
there is no issue of abuse of the children and no ethical or moral reason
for denying contact. In some cases, workers at women's shelters assist
some mothers to violate court orders in relating to a father's access to his
children as part of a plan to unlawfully keep children from seeing their
fathers. The rights and freedoms of the children are often violated by
the children in the shelter against the child's wises and preferences
and in many cases denying the children even phone contact with their
That workers spy on women residents and sometimes listen
in on private phone calls.
That many of the shelters have no formal accounting
system for keeping track of money and donations and that there are few, if
any, audits on shelters. Yet, millions of tax dollars flow to these
That some of the women working in shelters are lesbians
who deplore men and many of the other women hate men partly
because they can’t find a man themselves or because they have been the
victim of abuse themselves.
That some women's shelter staff have made sexual
advances towards the new women who come into the shelter and attempt to
coerce new women into lesbian relationships at a time when these new women are vulnerable. Some
women have reported being told that if they enter into sexual relationships
with shelter workers they will receive preferential treatment by the shelter
workers and can obtain special access to donations which come into the
That many of these women who work at shelters don’t want
to see other women happy and married, so one of their main objectives
to be to to destroy and break up families.
That many of the women who are
in the the shelters, including some workers, have emotional and psychological problems themselves and
in many cases are more violent than the partners they left.
That many staff members are former abused
women themselves with emotional problems and have a hatred against all men.
That children are being shown videotapes of men beating
up women and then being brainwashed into believing that only fathers are the
ones who are violent towards their partners and children. Yet
published research clearly shows that children are safest in the care of
their biological father.
That women assault each other in the shelters but
the shelters hush this up using threats to residents to keep silent, so that the police and the public will not become
aware of the violence in the shelters.
That women who come into many of the women's shelter are
told they must sign an intake form agreeing that they will not report about
anything they witness in the shelter and to waive their legal rights to sue
the shelter. It has been reported that the women
are being told that they cannot even take the agreement they signed out of
the women's shelter so that others might be able to see what it is they have
Some shelters tell new residents they are not allowed to
call police in regards to any illegal activities or incidents of abuse or
violence at the shelter without the
permission of the shelter. They are told that this is for "security
and privacy" reasons. The real reason why this is done is to conceal illegal activities
and violence in the shelter so that members of the public will not become
That there is a a lot of swearing used in the facility
and that young children are exposed to swearing and foul language while in
That new women who come into the shelter are expected to
never go back to their husbands and partners and are expected to destroy
their marriages. Even if a woman want to attempt to make her
relationship with her partner another chance, she is forced into silence
often under threat that she will get kicked out of the shelter is she says
anything about wanting to see her former partner.
That donations made by corporate sponsors are being
squandered and in some cases, removed from the shelters for the profit of
That there is a pecking order in the shelters.
Women who do what they are told by staff or become lesbian partners are
granted extra privileges by shelter staff. Some women have reported
that they feel more abused in a shelter then
they did when they were with their partners.
That workers at shelters routinely provide family courts judges testimonial
letters saying that new residents are excellent mothers without doing any
check into the past history of the mother. This is done as part of a
strategy to misled the court and to help the mother destroy her children's
relationship with their father. In some cases violent
mothers who have seriously abused their children are willingly been accepted
into a shelter and provided a most praising letter to the court.
That some women with significant financial assets have stayed at women's
shelters at the expense of taxpayers without having to disclose their
financial status. In some cases women have owned houses and had properties
where they could have stayed instead of using the facilities of taxpayer
That some shelters are referring new women residents to certain lawyers who
are lesbian and radical feminist or who have been reported as being unethical
Often these types of lawyers will resort to any dirty and unethical trick to
help women destroy their marriages and destroy their children's relationship with their fathers.
That women's shelters have been known to harbour women who are fugitives
from the law. It has been reported that some women have kidnapped children
and have used women's shelters in various communities and provinces to hide
themselves and their children from apprehension from the law.
That many women who felt that they or their children have been mistreated by
the women's shelter feel that there is no place that they can file a
complaint about their experience without fear of retribution by those who
operate the shelter.
That some women make it a business of going to different shelters on a
regular basis to gather free furniture, food and clothing. Some women
even do this while they are still married and still living secretly with
their husbands or partners.
Women’s shelters have been referred to as “One stop divorce
shops” by journalists who have written stories about them. Canada Court
Watch believes that any women's shelter, especially those
that receive any government or community funding should maintain the
highest standards of accountability and professionalism.
In the matter of
women's shelters it is the position of Canada Court Watch:
Intake application and verification process
all women who apply to stay in a shelter be required to provide proper
identification and to fill in an
application form which clearly indicates all relevant circumstances to their
case such as why they they need services, details of the circumstances
requiring them to apply at a shelter, custody of the children, status of
any court action (if applicable), disclosure of criminal record or warrants
for arrest and a financial statement.
That all women
who apply for accommodation at any government women's shelter be required to
fill in and sign a financial statement similar to
the one used in family court and their financial means assessed for the
purposes of determining a fee for services if they have the financial means
to pay for services. The taxpayers should not be carrying the cost of
services for those who clearly have the financial assets or means to pay.
application forms be kept on file for no less than 10 years by the shelter and be made
available to any government department conducting an audit on the shelter.
women's shelters use standardized intake application for service forms and that
a copy of a blank form be readily
available for viewing by the public on a publicly accessible or government website.
information package be given to each person seeking residency which would
include a complaint form and details as to how to make complaints about the
shelter and the code of conduct for residents and workers.
women's shelters be linked to a government database which will track the use
of services by individuals to ensure that services are not being abused.
Protection of children's rights
worker shall not engage in any activities or provide any advice that could
be seen as interfering with a child's rights to his/her relationship with
other family members, including the other parent. If anything, shelter
workers should be helping to protect children's rights. Shelter
workers should not be taking on the position of judge and jury in such
That the issue of the children's access to the other
parent and extended family members should be investigated ASAP and unless
there is compelling evidence (not just allegations from one
parent) that the child is at risk, then steps should be
taken ASAP to ensure that the child's contact with the other parent is
maintained and/or encouraged. Women's shelters should not be used as a
tool by one parent
to violate the the rights of children to have meaningful contact with their other
Fee for services based on financial ability to pay
based-on-income user fees
on a per night basis be charged to all women whose financial statement would
indicate that they have the financial means to pay for such services.
The taxpayers should not be funding free services to those who clearly have
the financial ability and means to pay. (This would be considered
financially prudent and help to reduce abuse
That the daily
user fee and
the formulas to calculate the daily user fee should be readily available to the
public or posted on the government's internet site.
Restrictions to use of services
That residency at a shelter be denied to any woman who
would be considered a fugitive from the law. Should it be discovered
that any resident is being sought by the authorities, then shelter workers must
immediately report any woman who they know is fleeing from authorities. Not
only does housing known criminals set a bad example for other women and
children by saying that it is OK to help someone break the law, but it also
puts children at risk by housing criminals in the same facility as young
That women who
apply for residence in a shelter with children from outside of the community
in which the children have been normally living, should be considered for
acceptance only after they have shown that they have attempted to obtain
accommodation at a women's shelter within their community first. (This to
help prevent parents from taking children from their community as part of a
plan to to prevent access by other family members)
That any women
with a history of violence against another person or abuse against children
be refused admittance to a shelter. (This to prevent children who
are already residing in the shelter from being exposed to known violent
in any women's shelter be limited to a maximum period of three months in any
one calendar year unless there are reasonable circumstances which may
justify otherwise. (This to help reduce abuse of the system and to help
reduce dependency on women's shelters. Women's shelters should be for
emergency short term housing only.)
at a shelter be strictly restricted to those women who are fleeing physical
or emotional abuse by a partner. Women's shelters should not be used as temporary housing
for immigrants or to house those women
who are only in need of accommodation for financial reasons. Women who are not fleeing abuse
should attend facilities intended for temporary housing such as local
churches, the YWCA, the Salvation Army, welfare, etc.
Code of Conduct for Residents
have a written code of conduct that all residents must abide by and that
this code of conduct be signed by each new resident upon arrival to the
shelter. Copies of this Code of Conduct to be given to each resident
they have arrived.
That the use of
foul language by shelter workers and/or residents in front of children be
prohibited and that any resident or shelter worker who refuses to abide by
this simple rule of conduct after being warned, be expelled from the
shelter. (Children should not be exposed to foul language as this is a
form of child abuse.)
should be no restriction or code of silence placed on residents which would prevent them from
reporting illegal activities such as drug use or violence in the shelter to police,
Children's Aid Society or to any
should be clear written guidelines provided to each resident informing them
what they should do in the even that they see illegal activity at the
shelter or see workers or residents violating the shelter's published code
that residents and their children must follow while residing in a shelter, must be in writing
and acknowledged in writing by each new resident before they are granted
residency in the facility.
Part of the introductory package to each new member should include how to
file a complaint against the shelter should they not be satisfied with the
services provided. Such rules to be published and made available to members of the public upon
request. Ideally such rules should be posted on a website for the
Advocacy services, legal advice and counselling
shelters should not engage in the business of providing heath care services
such as counselling.
shelter workers not be allowed to have contact with the police, Crown Attorney
or others involved with a resident's legal matters. Women's shelter staff
should be providing shelter for women, not engaging in the area of providing
legal advocacy services. Other groups and organizations outside of the
shelter should be providing advocacy services and women residents should be
referred to these outside, arms-length services.
staff should not be providing legal advice. The taxpayers are already
funding the Legal Aid plan which will provide legal services for the women so
taxpayers should not be paying for this service twice by subsidizing workers
from the shelter as well.
should not be provided for children by women's shelter staff. All
counselling should be provided by trained persons who are independent of the
shelters and who are not in conflict of interest.
shelters, being largely publicly funded, should not refer residents to any
particular legal firm or lawyer. Residents should be advised to
obtains the names of specific lawyers from the applicable lawyer referral
service of the law society having jurisdiction in the province.
Financial records and general business records
shelters be required to maintain proper financial and services provided records and to have these
records available to the public under the same criteria as the Freedom of Information
share a government operated database with all women's shelter across Canada which will be used
to keep track of residents who come to the shelters to ensure that services
are not being abused by some resident who may abuse the system by moving
from one women's shelter to another. This will also help shelters to be made
aware of applicants who have abused services or violated a residents code of
conduct at another women's shelter. (This to help reduce abuse of the
system and to help reduce dependency on women's shelters. Women's
shelters should be for emergency short term housing only.)
Ombudsman with the provincial government or an independent body be appointed
and given the authority under legislation to investigate complaints about women's shelters in each
residents be provided with written details of how to file a complaint about
a women's shelter at the time they are admitted into the facility.
Code of Conduct for shelter workers
That any staff
member caught making sexual advances towards any resident shall have their
employment or volunteer activities at the shelter immediately terminated.
Workers and volunteer must be made aware that they hold a
position of trust over the women residents and should not be
allowed to abuse this power over women who are most vulnerable.
of shelters be allowed to retain copies of any documents they must sign to
gain entrance to a woman's shelter, just as they have the right to retain a
copy of any other legal document they sign.
Management of women's shelters