Charities supporting charities as coronavirus restrictions result in rise in domestic violence in B.C.
As British Columbians deal with a crippling health emergency, critical care resources are in greater demand than ever before including the need for additional women’s shelters as reports confirm a surge in domestic violence. Restrictions in movement, social isolation, coupled with increased social and economic pressures including job losses, women and children are ‘locked down’ in their homes with abusive partners. Rendered vacant as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Easter Seals BC/Yukon has entered into a partnership with Atira Women’s Resource Society which allows them to temporarily use the Easter Seals House facility as a transition house for women and children fleeing violent homes.
Easter Seals House provides short-term accommodation for families and individuals with disabilities or other medical needs who are travelling to Vancouver from across B.C. for medical services and treatments. Because of COVID-19, there was a decline in demand for this type of accommodation as patient appointments were cancelled and postponed resulting in the suspension of operations at Easter Seals House for approximately three months (June).
“During a time of such devastation, we are comforted and very thankful that our Easter Seals House facility continues to serve the community and can play a key part in the prevention and redress of violence against women and children,” says Lisa Beck, President/CEO of Easter Seals BC/Yukon and BC Lions Society for Children with Disabilities (Society). “Our mission is to help individuals with diverse abilities, society’s most vulnerable, and while we are actively seeking creative alternatives to our usual programs this year, we believe we must work together to help everyone who is in need now.”
Seeking refuge in a women’s shelter is more difficult during the coronavirus pandemic as physical distancing measures puts limits on their capacities forcing some facilities to turn women away. Easter Seals House is uniquely suited to be used as a temporary women’s shelter as it features self-contained suites each with its own kitchen and bathroom thereby meeting COVID-19 isolation guidelines.
“We are so grateful to Easter Seals BC/Yukon for reaching out to Atira and to BC Housing for providing the funding that makes this temporary resource available to women and children at risk of violence,” says Janice Abbott, CEO of Atira Women’s Resource Society. “It’s this kind of creative thinking and these types of partnerships that will get us all through this challenging time and, in this case, keep women and children safe.”
Easter Seals British Columbia/Yukon has had to change and adapt how it delivers its well-loved and needed programs in 2020. Individuals with diverse abilities are among society’s most vulnerable and they may be struggling more than others due to the loss of access to critical services and programs as a result of social distancing and isolation. The charity is seeking online/virtual program options that can be offered now during the COVID-19 interruption and later this year in place of the regular summer camps. The Society relies on the generosity of its donors to fund its programs and services and is still seeking donations during this global health emergency. Donations can be made at www.eastersealsbcy.ca
Issued to Media April 22, 2020