By Perminder Flora – Manager, MOSAIC Violence Prevention Programs
The COVID-19 pandemic has a new victim – women in domestically violent living situations no longer having the option to flee.
As protective, life-saving measures to combat COVID-19 include quarantine and self-isolation to help flatten the curve, coronavirus is inadvertently increasing the deadly epidemic of intimate partner violence. Fleeing from an abusive relationship may not be an option for women who are forced into isolation with their abuser.
During Prevention of Violence Against Women Week in BC (April 12-18), we want to remind you that help is available, because we know that home is not the safest place for women and children impacted by domestic violence.
Statistics Canada 2017 reports that 73% of female victims of intimate partner homicides were killed by a current or former legally married or common-law husband; and boyfriends were responsible for the 26% of female victims’ deaths.
The Violence Prevention Program at MOSAIC is doing everything we can to help keep women and children safe from violence.
One of our clients is a single mother with two children who is at home self-isolating with her partner. Already a victim of domestic violence, she is experiencing anger fueled and worsened by the additional stresses associated with the pandemic.
Forced isolation has increased her vulnerability to emotional and physical violence. She is being supported by the Stopping the Violence Counselling services with emotional support, safety planning, updated COVID-19 and violence prevention information; the Multicultural Victim Services provide criminal law and court support resources to increase her understanding of how to keep herself and her children safe.
As calls for help spike, accessibility of resources has diminished, and safe houses are reaching capacity, or unable to take new victims due to lockdown and social-distancing measures.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that 1 in 3 women worldwide will experience gender-based violence, but is the least reported of human rights abuses. According to the UN, violence against women has increased by more than 25% around the world as the unintended consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
MOSAIC’s Violence Prevention Programs are specialized counselling support and victim services delivered by trained staff utilizing a culturally sensitive and trauma-informed approach to working with diverse communities.
Services include emotional support, advocacy, referrals to other relevant resources and prevention information. Women from diverse cultures may have significant challenges and barriers to supports. The Stopping the Violence Counselling, Multicultural Victim Services, Enhanced Settlement Services for Women and our sexual violence prevention work with international students aim to increase safety and empower victims to live free of violence.
If you are in immediate danger, call 911. If you need support or help, use the website links in this blog or email firstname.lastname@example.org or, email@example.com or call 236-521-7080 (9am-5pm, weekdays),