Research shows that isolation, economic and employment uncertainty, crowded or precarious housing and social disorder and disruption are all risk factors for sexual violence, intimate partner violence, elder and child abuse.(Photo by JR Korpa on Unsplash)

Victoria-based support group reports 40 per cent leap in women seeking escape from family violence

Cridge Centre: Measures necessary in responding to COVID-19 increase domestic abuse risk factors

A family support centre based in Greater Victoria has reported a 40 per cent increase in women expressing interest in moving into supportive housing for women fleeing family violence.

Candace Stretch, manager of supportive housing and family services for the Cridge Centre for the Family, says that the centre typically sees between 30 and 40 expressions of interest in a quarter for women wanting to move into one of the 46 housing units. This quarter there were more than 60 expressions of interest — with most of the requests coming in March.

“This suggests to me that there are women who are feeling the strain, maybe they’re in a situation that they were able to manage with a spouse but this crisis may have turned up the heat in the situation and now they’re more desperate,” says Stretch.

RELATED: Victoria women’s shelters bracing for impact with expected uptick due to pandemic

According to the Ending Violence Association of Canada, research has shown that isolation, economic and employment uncertainty, crowded or precarious housing and social disorder and disruption are all risk factors for sexual violence, intimate partner violence, elder and child abuse.

“Many of the measures necessary to responding to COVID-19 – isolation; closures of daycares and schools; the potential impact on employment and income; and general uncertainty, stress and disruption – are also likely to exacerbate these known risk factors for violence,” reads a statement from the Association.

READ ALSO: Victoria Sexual Assault Centre remains open for survivors through COVID-19 pandemic

Stretch says the Cridge Centre has been able to support every woman who called the crisis line seeking immediate help, but not all through the Cridge Transition House. Some cases were referred to other organizations. One of the positive aspects to the pandemic, says Stretch is the level of communication and collaboration between those in the sector.

Stretch adds that the Cridge’s outreach worker, who meets women in their communities, has had a “huge increase in the number of calls.”

“[The outreach worker] is hearing a lot of women who have left relationships but COVID-19 is putting a big strain on them financially and emotionally because they’ve lost jobs, they’ve got kids at home and they’re just trying to manage everything,” she says.

Elijah Zimmerman, executive director of the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre, says the centre has yet to see an increase in the use of their clinic as of yet. He says they believe this is due to the reduction of “opportunity assaults” that could take place at bars, parties or events.

“We do have concerns that people may be living with an abuser and are reluctant to seek support for fear of jeopardizing housing in a time of physical distancing,” Zimmerman says.

Stretch echos those concerns and says women who need help now should not hesitate to call.

“We’re going to do everything we can,” she says. “We’re going to work with you on this and make sure you’re not stuck in a situation that’s not safe.”

If you are experiencing family violence and need help now visit cridge.org/cthw or call 250-479-3963. To get in contact with the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre visit vsac.ca or call 250-383-3232.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RDCK to implement new emergency alert notification system

System also includes sends alerts for water advisories

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

Traffic finally eases along Arrow Lakes ferry routes

Motorists were stuck for up to six hours in ferry lineups over the weekend

Shoppers Drug Mart launches in-store virtual service at several B.C. stores

The service is now available in 12 rural B.C. communities and will expand province-wide in August

Milestone RCMP Cops For Kids fundraiser ride going virtual

You can join and help RCMP raise funds for families and possibly win 20th anniversary cycling shirt

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Most Read