Women have been sexually assaulted at a Vancouver homeless shelter, according to a coalition of women’s groups.
The coalition claims that reports of assaults at the First United Church shelter in the Downtown Eastside have been ignored by operators.
When reached for comment, Sandra Severs, a spokesperson for the First United Church, denied that her organization didn’t pay attention to such reports.
“There have been some alleged assaults but they haven’t been ignored,” Severs told the Straight by phone today (February 25).
In a news release, the coalition of women’s groups says that the Vancouver Police Department confirmed in 2010 that six sexual assaults were reported at the shelter.
“Frontline workers had been receiving reports directly from women as well over the past several months, many of whom have relayed that the lack of concern about their well-being in the church shelter is similar to the colonial and paternalistic attitude experienced in residential schools,” the coalition states.
The coalition is composed of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, WISH Drop-In Centre, Power of Women Group, and the Battered Women’s Support Services.
The coalition will hold a press conference on Monday (February 28) at 515-119 West Pender Street.