The Sooke Transition House Society operates Annie’s Place, a 24-hour emergency crisis facility for women and their children who are leaving situations of intimate partner violence, community violence and domestic violence. (Pixabay)

Women and children fleeing violence find safety with Sooke Transition House Society

Annie’s Place is a home built on hope

It’s been a consistent message during the pandemic: “Stay at home, and stay safe.” But what if home is not a safe place?

Statistics Canada reports that a woman in Canada is killed by someone she knew intimately about every six days. About a third of all police-reported violence happens between intimate partners. Thousands of more assaults are never reported.

These realities have not changed because of the pandemic.

ALSO READ: Students step up to make sure community members don’t go without

The Sooke Transition House Society (STHS) has been a safe harbour for women for nearly 30 years. The society operates Annie’s Place, a 24-hour emergency crisis facility for women and their children who are leaving situations of intimate partner violence, community violence and domestic violence.

“I know that with COVID right now, a lot of people are dealing with struggles of being in an unhealthy relationship and not knowing what to do, and it’s become very dangerous for a lot of people,” said Charleyne Oulton, chair of the society, who was a transition house resident more than 14 years ago.

Tracy Schetterer, the STHS managerial director, and her seven support workers, resolve to make a difference in women and children’s lives.

“From the time they come into the house until the time they leave, we tell them this is your home,” Schetterer said. “We’re here to support them 24/7.”

A stay can be as short as one day and as long as a few weeks. In that time, an STHS outreach worker provides direct assistance to clients, including needs assessment, information and referrals, safety planning and transportation assistance. The worker also acts as a client advocate and accompaniment when appropriate for medical, legal or social service appointments.

The society offers counselling services for both women and children and co-funds a victim services program run in conjunction with the Sooke RCMP.

In 2020, the society housed 17 women and 12 children. So far, in 2021, two women and three children have sought protective shelter.

Many families at Annie’s Place are from out of town – some as far away as Alberta and Washington State. Often, Sooke women who seek help are referred to transition homes in other areas of the province or beyond, Schetterer said.

ALSO READ: How relationships might be tested during the pandemic

Oulton said Sooke is lucky to have a transition house when other smaller communities don’t have one. Still, other services are needed throughout the Island, including secondary housing and more counsellors.

“I think that we’re in Sooke, and part of the conversation is just pure magic,” she said.

The Sooke Transition House Society operates Annie’s Place with funding from B.C. Housing, while the B.C. Public Safety and Solicitor General Ministry fund counselling programs, victim services and outreach services. The society also hosts community fundraising events.

Staff at Annie’s Place can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 250-642-2591. Anyone at immediate risk of harm should call 911.

•••

SIDEBAR

Even though the past year has been anything but traditional, an annual fundraiser put on by the Sooke Transition House Society will return, but with a twist.

The society’s annual Beer and Burger Night was cancelled last March due to COVID-19 restrictions. The community donated more than 70 items for a silent auction.

Now that auction will be held via Facebook, beginning March 4 and running to March 11.

Among the items up for auction are artwork, locally produced crafts, gift certificates, salt lamp – even a hand-painted umbrella.

All those who bought a ticket to the actual event have also donated the money for their beer and burger back to the society, said STHS executive director Crystal Gelsinger.

Check out the auction on the Sooke Transition House Society Facebook page.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

charitySooke

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Latoria South section of the Royal Bay development in Colwood could include a new long-term care facility. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood’s Royal Bay could be home to new long-term care facilities

Capital Regional Hospital District board approves $8M land purchase for purpose

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply as overdose emergency turns 5

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Black Press Media file photo)
Youth gets combative with police at Victoria hospital

VicPD officer injured, youth kept in care under Mental Health Act

A man with a history of sexual offences was arrested after he followed and aggressively tried to talk to two young woman on the weekend. Black Press File Photo
Man convicted of sexual offences arrested after teens followed in Victoria

Women hid in a Quadra Village convenience store as man aggressively tried to get in

A few dozen students and parents gathered outside Lansdowne Middle School April 14 to protest proposed budget cuts to SD61 music programs. From left to right: Lyra Gaudin, Cleo Bateman, Abby Farish, Brigitte Peters, Enid Gaudin, Des Farish. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
SD61’s proposed $7 million cuts threaten equity and inclusion, say parents, teachers

Music classes, inclusion services, reading programs on the line

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you have a plan in place in the event of a tsunami?

Tsunamis have claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people between 1998… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 13

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

One of the grand prizes for this year's Hometown Heroes Lottery includes a seaside home at SookePoint, $1.5 million, and an Audi Quattro. (Photo courtesy of Hometown Heroes)
Hometown Heroes Lottery features seaside home in Sooke

A stunning seaside home in Sooke could be yours for the price… Continue reading

City workers from Duncan were busy recently putting up street signs in both Hul’q’umi’num’ and English. (Submitted photo)
Hul’q’umi’num street signs installed in downtown Duncan

Partnership with Cowichan Tribes sees English street names twinned with Indigenous language

Homicide investigators who asked not to be identified put up signs Wednesday, April 14, along the Nanaimo Parkway in the area where a body was found March 31. RCMP are asking for witnesses or dash cam footage as the suspicious death has now been ruled a homicide. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Suspicious death along the highway in Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

RCMP identify victim as Randell Charles Thomas, repeat call for any information related to the case

Most Read