Prior to the mid seventies, no formal services for abused women and children existed in Halifax. A group of concerned women came together to explore the possibility of more formalized supports and services, resulting in a study on women leaving abuse. The results of the study highlighted the extent of abuse in which women and children were living and recognized the lack of available resources in the community.
The group formed the Halifax Transition House Association and opened Bryony House in 1978, the first transition house in Nova Scotia. As a non-profit organization, it provides 24 hour emergency services for women, with or without children, escaping intimate partner abuse. Bryony House continues to be the only transition house in the Halifax Regional Municipality, whose sole mandate is to help those affected by intimate partner abuse. Over the years, 12 new transition houses were established. The transition houses then worked to create the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia (THANS).
Bryony House is a 24-bed shelter. Each year, approximately 470 women and children stay with us and 2,500 distress calls are answered. Our dedicated counsellors are there to answer the 24-hour distress line, provide individual/group supportive counselling, public education, advocacy and referrals. An important part of our work is to break the cycle of abuse. Women who contact us come from many walks of life, socio-economic classes and cultural backgrounds. What they have in common is that they are in, or are fleeing, an abusive intimate relationship.
Today, we continue to provide transitional supports and services that strengthen our community, educate the public and empower women.