Domestic violence on the rise in Okanagan amid COVID-19

Domestic violence on the rise in Okanagan amid COVID-19

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP see increase in domestic dispute call volumes

Home is deemed the safest place and Canadians are urged by the government to stay home to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but home isn’t safe for everyone.

Social distancing and self-isolation practices are being put in place to keep us safe from COVID-19, yet these practices are putting those experiencing abuse at increased risk, according to Archway Society for Domestic Peace in Vernon.

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP media relations officer Cpl. Tania Finn said officers have noticed an increase call volume reporting domestic incidents.

“There seems to be more domestic disturbances reported which is not surprising given the current conditions,” she said.

The Archway Society for Domestic Peace said it recognizes self-isolation conditions are putting victims as risk.

As new cases of the novel coronavirus pop up, schools, parks and businesses are closing – most of these are places of leisure, but for some these are places of respite.

“We understand the need for social distancing. We also recognize that this can create a barrier for women facing abuse and no longer able to escape,” co-executive director Sherry Demetrick said.

The Society is facing the same struggles other businesses in the community are facing, but its mission is to help families.

“Right now, more than ever, families need help,” the society said.

“The abuse is not going to stop; a victim’s trauma is not going to be put on hold while this pandemic is happening. We are coming up with creative ways to support women and children as we all navigate through these uncertain times.”

Although staff are not physically in the office, they are committed to helping women, children and families in the community.

Counselling sessions and support via phone, text and email is still available and the Transition House is available to help those in need of a safe place.

“Right now, this crisis has a huge impact on victims of sexual or domestic violence. We want them to know, amongst the noise and hustle due to this pandemic, we hear you, we see you, but most importantly, we believe you.” co-executive director Micki Materi said.

“We are here to help and support you,”

If you or someone you know needs support, reach out.

Archway Society is available 24-7 at 250-542-1122.

“Let’s take care of each other, in times of uncertainty, kindness and humanity matter the most,” the society said.

READ MORE: Effects of COVID-19 isolation on domestic violence a concern for Shuswap women’s shelter

READ MORE: Domestic violence shelters adapt as COVID-19 forces families home


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