Protocols and Practices in Emergency Evacuation of Women Fleeing Abuse


  • Patricia Kostouros Mount Royal University
  • D. Gaye Warthe



Disaster, domestic violence, women’s shelter, emergency protocols, emergency evacuation


Over the past several years three major events causing community disasters, two wildfires and a flood, have occurred in the province of Alberta, Canada. When these large-scale events occurred all community residents were asked to follow provincial emergency evacuation procedures, which included a move to an evacuation centre. In some cases, women and their children who were living at domestic violence shelters may have been unsafe since they might encounter the partner they fled at the evacuation site. These researchers encountered such a situation on our campus which is one evacuation centre. In this project, we gathered information from both shelter staff and emergency evacuation personnel about how such circumstances were managed and inquired about future best practices for evacuating women with or without children who are fleeing domestic violence. Interviewees shared insights to inform disaster management and shelter protocols.  

Author Biographies

Patricia Kostouros, Mount Royal University

Patricia Kostouros R. Psych PhDDepartment of Child Studies and Social WorkProfessorMount Royal University

D. Gaye Warthe

D. Gaye Watson Warthe, PhD, MSW, RSWAssociate Dean, Teaching and LearningFaculty of Health, Community and EducationCoordinator, Academic Programs and QualityOffice of the Provost and Vice-President, AcademicMount Royal University 



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