Supporting Survivors of Family Violence

Certificates that allow survivors of family violence to end their leases early without financial penalty have helped hundreds flee violent homes.

Minister McLean, David McIlveen, Boardwalk Communities, MLA Deborah Drever and Jeff Surtees, Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta announce new supports for survivors of family violence. 

Since the Safer Spaces certificates program began in August 2016, the government has issued 379 certificates to help survivors of family violence leave an unsafe home and begin to rebuild their lives.

To further support survivors, a $50,000 Status of Women grant to the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta will train landlords and property managers to recognize signs of family violence and equip them with resources to help their tenants.

“We all deserve to live in a province where we are safe and supported. The Safer Spaces certificates, along with assistance from landlords and property managers, help families leave a violent home and get the supports they need. The more Albertans who know the signs of family violence and what to do about it, the safer we make life for women and girls in Alberta.”

~Stephanie McLean, Minister of Status of Women

The bill allowing the certificates, the Residential Tenancies (Safer Spaces for Victims of Domestic Violence) Amendment Act, was first introduced by Calgary MLA Deborah Drever in 2015.

“No one should feel trapped in an unsafe home because they can’t afford to break their lease. This certificate removes barriers for survivors, which means safety first, not finances, when leaving a dangerous situation. I’m proud to be part of a government that is making life better for survivors of family violence in Alberta.”

~Deborah Drever, MLA, Calgary-Bow

Landlords and property managers are often among the first to see signs of family violence in their buildings, and can be powerful allies in providing timely referrals and helping families leave an unsafe home.

“Landlords and the associations that represent them want to help victims of domestic violence who live in their buildings. This critical funding lets us all work together to develop useful educational resources to make Alberta safe for everyone.”

~Jeff Surtees, executive director, Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta

“Boardwalk’s first priority is the safety of our residents, our staff and our community. Therefore, we are extremely supportive of the government’s grant for an educational initiative that we expect will help create safer spaces for victims of domestic violence.”

~David McIlveen, director of Community Development, Boardwalk Communities

Quick facts

  • To get a Safer Spaces certificate, a tenant must give the Ministry of Community and Social Services an emergency protection order, a peace bond or a statement from a certified professional – including a doctor, nurse, social worker or psychologist – confirming they or their children are in danger. Tenants will also be connected with other services and supports for survivors of domestic violence.
  • In Canada, seven out of 10 victims of family violence reported to police in 2015 were women or girls.
  • In the 2017 calendar year, the province provided the following supports:
  • In 2016-17, the province provided $50 million to women’s shelters and outreach services for those in crisis from family violence:
    • 4,914 women and 3,808 children were admitted to shelters and 20,605 women and 6,712 children were supported through outreach services.

About Status of Women grants

Status of Women’s first-ever grants program funds 33 innovative projects by not-for-profit and charitable organizations for a total of $1.5 million in the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Successful projects help women get good jobs and training, increase the number of women in leadership roles and work to end violence against women and girls.