Rise in family violence hotline calls amid pandemic worry advocates
B.C. Human Rights Commissioner says families are facing greater economic pressure, uncertainty
Advocates for children and human rights are concerned about a rise in family violence calls to a Vancouver-based crisis line during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Officer of the B.C. Human Rights Commissioner says families are facing greater economic pressure and uncertainty with fewer places to go for help.
Advocates say physical distancing measures to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus are also affecting services and resources for people fleeing family violence.
Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender said Vancouver's Battered Women Support Services has "reported a 300 percent increases in calls related to family violence during the pandemic."
While essential to stopping the transmission of the COVID 19 virus, advocates say stay-at-home orders "can increase the likelihood of abusers exerting power and control."
B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth said isolation at home can cut families off from the outside world.
"Social distancing means fewer 'eyes on families'; fewer community members who can witness and report family violence; fewer places where people can go to safely reach out for help or escape violence; and increased pressures on shelters," said Charlesworth.
Even though support groups say they are experiencing an increase in reports, the Vancouver police department has said it has not received an increase in calls related to domestic violence.