Experts warn about possible spike in domestic violence over COVID-19
As COVID-19 continues to spread, many people are self-isolating, but concerns are being raised about a possible increase in domestic violence.
Victim Services of Simcoe County says so far the numbers haven't changed, but that doesn't mean they won't.
"Sometimes we get a bit of cabin fever and get on each other's' nerves, but it can produce greater triggers, stronger triggers, in a relationship that has already been a violent relationship," says the Executive Director of Victims Services of Simcoe County, Marie McCallum.
She says the violence can stem from a non-equal-partner relationship and the need for power.
"The person who already sees themselves as the head of the household, and uses violence as a way to control everybody in the family, is going to probably look at other ways of enhancing that control," says McCallum.
She says they may seize items such as sanitizers and cleaning materials.
The federal government is supporting those fleeing violent situations.
"For anyone fleeing domestic or gender-based violence, we will boost funding for shelters that provide sanctuary when self-isolating at home is simply not an option," said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a public address.
Ottawa will be providing up to 50 million dollars to shelters and sexual assault centres across the country.
This is welcome news for The Women and Children Centre of Barrie, which is already strained for resources.
"We are anticipating that the need for services and calls from women is going to gradually increase the more that women are isolated at home in their situation," says the Executive Director for the shelter, Teresa Maclennan.
The shelter has twenty-seven beds for women and children, but right now, there are about thirty-five people at the shelter.
"In light of COVID-19, we are trying to reduce the intakes that we're doing, just to maintain the safety of the women and children we have here, as well as any women that are coming in," says Maclennan."
Staff members at the shelter say they receive about 2,000 domestic violence-related calls annually.
They ask any women experiencing domestic violence not to put their lives at risk, and to contact the shelter.