Stay-at-home measures are difficult for many, but for women in abusive or vulnerable relationships, the restrictions could pose dangerous risks for many within the community.
Women who are are isolating and trapped with an abusive partner in their homes can turn to the Comox Valley Transition Society says Anne Davis, program co-ordinator for the CVTS.
Both their 24-hour crisis line and Lilli House – their transition house which provides safe shelter for women fleeing abuse – are available for those who need it during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Davis notes the organization has seen an increase in the number of crisis calls in the last number of days, but despite social distancing measures, women are welcome at Lilli House.
“We are taking great care. If a woman needs to come into the house and has travelled in the last little while or if there is a question with her health status, we ask she calls 8-1-1 for guidance. In the worst case, we would accept them and ensure the woman self-isolates in their room; we all want to be very, very careful.”
Lilli House is a large facility, explains Davis, and every woman has her own bedroom which helps with social distancing, along with two large living rooms.
She added the house is not allowing volunteers or visitors and they hired a cook so that only one person handles food (previously each woman prepared breakfast and lunch for herself and her children, and residents took turns preparing dinner.)
With many women isolating at home, Davis notes women who are trapped with an abusive partner are experiencing an even higher level of stress, in addition to those who are facing layoffs and kids who are at home full-time.
“It’s a difficult time. We anticipate more women than usual will access our resources, but we do have plans in place (for that).”
Because women who find themselves in abusive situations aren’t able to get out of the home to speak with friends and family, Davis says it’s really important for those texting or emailing instead to not mention the abuse in communication.
“It could actually cause more problems; definitely support those as much as you can, but try and do it in a more general way.”
For more information on how to support, access resources or to donate to the transition society, visit www.cvts.ca.