Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter

We have served the community since 1974, providing innovative safety, healing and prevention programs to more than 180,000 Calgarians. We are on the front lines to provide a community free from family violence and abuse.

Our Story Why We Exist

Sally phoned into the helpline looking for emergency support and safety. She was phoning from a rural, isolated area just outside of the city. Our 24-Hour Family Violence Helpline counselor encouraged her to take deep breaths and found out some key pieces of information so we could act quickly. Sally spoke of her husband of 10 years constantly calling her names, tracking her movements within their town and recently becoming physically aggressive with her in front of their children. She commented on her husband’s love of hunting and his recent concerns she was cheating on him.

She had her children hidden under a blanket in the backseat with their family dog, bags in the trunk she had packed months before and all their legal documents hidden in her pant leg from that morning. The helpline counselor asked Sally where she was and then connected with the local police to ensure she and her children were able to leave their family farm with the protection the situation required. Police were on their way to formally escort the family to safety.

A formal assessment around the extent of the abuse and safety precautions Sally had taken over the years brought forward her resistance to violence and ability to protect her family in the most desperate of times. Next the counselor was able to connect with the local pet care program so the family's dog would be well cared for during this time of crisis. Knowing the family pet was not going to be left behind and in danger while the family fled was crucial to ensuring the family's needs were met in a time of crisis....all family members are safe.

With assistance and emotional support from the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter Helpline counsellor, a police escort, and her immediate needs and concerns met, Sally was able to successfully escape the violence at home and bring her children to safety. 

Our Impact What We Do

The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter is focused on ending family violence and abuse in the lives of women, children, youth and men. “Taking a Stand Against Family Violence” in the community since 1974, the agency has helped more than 180,000 Calgarians build safe lives and healthy relationships. Though the Emergency Shelter is the cornerstone of the organization, it is “More than a Shelter”, providing a number of innovative safety, healing and prevention programs in the community. As an organization, we are focused on supporting individuals and families in building new lives free of family violence, heightening awareness of family violence as a serious community issue, and strengthening community partnerships to deliver a seamless continuum of services to our clients.

VISION: A community free from family violence and abuse.

MISSION: We are here to support individuals and families in their efforts to live free from family violence and abuse.


  • EMPOWERMENT fosters one's own strengths and abilities.
  • INTEGRITY is consistency between our values and our actions and words.
  • RESPECT means honouring the inherent worthiness of each person and their expertise.
  • RESPONSIBILITY acknowledges personal choice and accountability for one's own behaviour, while recognizing the impact those choices have on others. Responsibility transcends the individual and organization, and extends to the community.


  • We believe all individuals have inherent strengths and abilities.
  • We believe violent and abusive behaviour is a deliberate choice.
  • We believe family violence and abuse impacts the entire community.
  • We believe all individuals have a right to live in a home free from actual or threatened violence and abuse.
  • We believe individuals who are treated badly resist abuse in ways that protect their safety or maintain their dignity.

Our Programs How We Do It

Programs and Services

24-Hour Family Violence Helpline

Professionally trained counsellors are available 24-hours per day, 365 days a year, to provide counselling, information and appropriate referrals to our callers. We are also able to assist with the needs of callers for whom English is not their first language.

Emergency Shelter

The Emergency Shelter provides safe and secure accommodation, food, clothing, referral services and counselling for women and children seeking safety and support after leaving an abusive situation. The Shelter is able to accommodate 50 women and children at any given time and provides a safe place to stay for up to 21 days.

Children’s Program

The Children’s Program offers individual and family counselling in the Shelter and in the community, and parenting support to children, youth and families who have witnessed or experienced family violence and abuse. It focuses on supporting healthy family relationships, safety planning, setting individual and family goals, and connection to child-focused resources.  

Community Counselling Program

The Community Counselling Program is a short-term crisis counselling program for women experiencing family violence and abuse, who are unable, or choose not to enter the Emergency Shelter. Counsellors work with clients to provide support, counselling, safety planning and referrals to community resources.

Outreach Counselling Program

The Outreach Counselling Program is available to clients who require long-term support after they leave the shelter and/or have accessed other Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter programs and require longer term support.  A counsellor connects women with the right community resources and assists them in building informal support networks.

Court Support Program

The Court Support Program provides information, support and assistance to women and their children who need to navigate the civil court system to keep themselves safe.

Men’s Counselling Service

The Men’s Counselling Service offers non-judgmental individual and/or group counselling to men who are concerned their anger and abusive behaviours are negatively impacting their family members. It addresses the need for men to take responsibility for their abusive behaviours, and their ability to change them. Women and children's safety is of prime concern in this program, so counselling and safety planning is also provided to men’s partners and their children.

Healthy Relationships Program

Healthy Relationships is a school and community-based program which provides prevention-based group counselling to adolescents aged 12 -18 about issues such as violence/abuse, power and control, conflict in relationships, self-esteem, communication, healthy expression of feelings and skill-building.

Our Requests What You Can Do

The Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter fundraises for 50% of our dollars, relying on support from public organizations, corporations and individuals donations. Family violence and abuse has no boundaries and happens in every area of Calgary. It is a community issue that can only be solved if everyone gets involved and Takes A Stand. Here are some of the ways you can help end family violence and abuse.

LEARN more about family violence and abuse on our website.

HELP someone you know or think is being abused.

SPEAK UP and start the conversation about family violence and abuse.

DONATE today.

VOLUNTEER with the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter.

HOST AN EVENT with proceeds donated to the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter.

PROVIDE the essentials for the women and children we serve. Learn about what items are most needed on our Wish List.