Worrying about paying the bills and feeding the kids is always stressful. But in this tough economy, it’s resulting in a dramatic increase in calls to the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter.

The CWES has reported 1,366 calls in February alone, a 300 per cent increase from the year before.

Fred, a former abuser who has gone through counselling, said he knows all too well how easily financial stress can trigger emotions.

“I know the number of calls is up right now and the only thing I can say is try to be positive and work together. It’s a difficult time but you just have to try and ride it out,” he said.

Fred said the stress of losing a job and not being able to pay bills can take a toll on families.

“But there is no excuse for abuse.”

While Fred has gone through counselling over the years and reconciled with his fourth wife of 17 years, other women in the city aren’t as fortunate, according to CWES executive director Lisa Falkowsky.

“The number of people seeking support from professional counsellors on our telephone helpline and needing the security of our shelter continues to escalate to numbers and severity we’ve never seen before,” she said.

While other Canadian cities haven’t reported an increase like Calgary’s yet, Falkowsky thinks it is because Calgary traditionally has more calls.

“And Calgary seems to be hit harder than other cities and people may be taking it harder,” she added.

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