Women’s Shelter to Open in Akureyri Skip to content

Women’s Shelter to Open in Akureyri

By Larissa Kyzer

Akureyri in winter
Photo: Golli.

The Kvennaatharf women’s shelter will be opening a location in Akureyri, North Iceland, at the end of the summer, RÚV reports. This will be the first time in over 30 years that there’s been a shelter for survivors of domestic abuse outside of the capital.

The Akureyri shelter will be open through next spring as a pilot project that director Sigþrúður Guðmundsdóttir hopes will clearly demonstrate the need for such a facility in the region. Sigþrúður says that two out of ten women who come to the Reykjavík shelter arrive from outside of the capital area.

“We’ve long wanted to better serve [people in] the countryside and this is the first step in that direction. There was, indeed, a shelter in Akureyri in the early days, in 1983/84, I think, but the day came that there weren’t grounds for a shelter there. But so much has changed since then.”

Kvennaathvarf has leased a space for the Akureyri shelter and hired staff. Sigþrúður says that local authorities and residents in the surrounding municipalities have been positive toward the initiative.

“Up until now, the only shelter for women who are fleeing violence in their homes has been in Reykjavík. This restricts the possibility of women in the countryside seeking assistance. About 20% of the women who come to the shelter at any given time are women from other parts of the country. It’s a certainty that the further the shelter here in Reykjavík is [from them], the more unlikely it is that they will come. And that’s natural. So it’s extremely positive for us to be able to provide this service out in the countryside – we’re really looking forward to it,” said Sigþrúður.

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