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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Town of Ladysmith receives $3.3 million grant for Arts & Heritage Hub

The funds will go to creating artist studios around the Machine Shop and maintaining heritage assets

Extension given for Cowichan region homeless tenting sites

Meeting with BC Housing to determine the next step

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses claim against Island Corridor Foundation

Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation was seeking return of reserve land as railway sits unused

What’s in a name? Ladysmith’s historical streets re-examined

Several streets in downtown Ladysmith are named after generals that served in the Boer War

UPDATE: Knuckles has been returned to LCHC display

Knuckles was stolen between 11:00am - 12:00pm on July 1

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

Collision results in train derailment just east of Golden

The derailment occurred Sunday night, according to a statement from CP

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

B.C. highway widening job reduced, costs still up $61 million

Union-only project scales back work to widen Trans-Canada

Greater Victoria nanny pleads guilty to child porn, sexual interference charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to slew of sex crimes

BC Wildfire Service to conduct night vision trials for helicopters in South Okanagan

This technology could assist with future firefighting operations

Most Read