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People who may be or are experiencing violence

Domestic and intimate partner violence, including sexual assault can increase during a crisis. Resources are available if you find yourself in these situations.
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Domestic violence and/or intimate partner violence can include physical, verbal, emotional, psychological, or sexual abuse, threats, or assault. This type of violence can occur in personal relationships, such as between partners, spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends, or family members, such as between parents and children or siblings. It can affect anyone but most people who experience violence are women. Regardless of the situation, violence and abuse are never acceptable.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased individual and familial stresses, changed our normal routines, restricted movement, and increased physical separation from family, friends, and community to reduce the spread of the virus.

Current measures such as physical distancing, which involves remaining at least two meters from others while out in the community, staying at home and reducing non-essential travel, as well as self-isolation under certain circumstances are intended to  help reduce the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic.

Couples and families may be in close quarters and have decreased community connections during the pandemic. This can create situations where domestic and intimate partner violence can be made worse. Indigenous women, girls, 2SLGBTQQIA (Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual) people and other marginalized groups who already experience increased barriers to safety may be at an even greater risk of violence during this time.

Are you at risk of, or experiencing violence in your household?

  • If you are experiencing violence or abuse in your household, please know that violence and abuse are never acceptable.
  • In addition to physical violence or sexual assault, which may not be immediately present in every abusive relationship, common indications of escalating risks can be:
    • increased forced isolation from friends, family, and employment (even via phone, social media, or the internet);
    • constant surveillance;
    • strict, detailed rules of behaviour;
    • restrictions on access to such basic necessities as food, clothing, and sanitary facilities;
    • threats: for example, threats to harm the individual, children, and/or other family members, and pets;
    • emotional abuse: including insults, intimidation, neglect, control, and isolation;
    • financial abuse: including withholding, stealing, or controlling money; and
    • spiritual/cultural abuse: restricting spiritual or cultural practices or beliefs.

Your immediate safety is more important than physical/social distancing or self-isolation measures

  • If you are in immediate danger, or think someone else is, please call 9-1-1.
  • Staying at home may not always be a safe option for everyone. If you need to leave an abusive home environment and seek a safe place with family, friends, or outside your community, please do so. If possible, please make a plan before you leave as the act of leaving might increase risk.
  • If you or someone in your family or community is at risk of, or experiencing physical violence, sexual assault, or psychological abuse in the household, there are services to help assess the risks and to help create a safety plan.
  • When safe to do so, please call VictimLink BC at 1-800-563-0808 or email or visit the supports nearest to you. You can access the Victim Services and Violence Against Women Program Directory to find resources available to you, your family, and community.

Resources for Indigenous peoples

  • Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA (Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual) people are strong and resilient community members are also at increased risk for experiencing violence. It is important that Indigenous peoples who may be or are experiencing violence to be able to access culturally safe and appropriate programs and services. In addition to the resources that VictimLink BC can offer. Additional resources include:
    • The First Nations Health Authority has compiled a list of resources, available on their website.
    • Métis Nation BC has partnered with KUU-US Crisis Services to launch a crisis line that provides culturally safe and appropriate information and referrals for Métis people. To access the Métis Crisis Line, call 1-833-638-4722 (1-833-METISBC). 
    • Many BC Friendship Centres offer programs and services for people experiencing violence; however, availability and accessibility may have shifted during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are interested in accessing these programs and services, it is best to inquire directly with your local Friendship Centre. A list of BC Friendship Centres is available on the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres website.

SOURCE: People who may be or are experiencing violence ( )
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