Incidents of Violence Against Women Steadily Increase Amid Pandemic: Report

Incidents of Violence Against Women Steadily Increase Amid Pandemic: Report
Quebec Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Isabelle Charest launches an add campaign aiming to curb violence against women in Montreal on Nov. 23, 2020. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)
Isaac Teo
A new report (pdf) says that violence against women has been gradually increasing in Canada since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to findings, organizations that support survivors have found a 20 to 30 percent increase in violence against women in certain regions across Canada since the first lockdown was implemented in March. 
Calls to police for domestic disturbances have also increased by 12 percent from March to June, the report says, citing the data from Statistic Canada. On top of that, shelters and anti-violence organizations reported that the increasing calls they received from women in need of help are getting more severe in terms of the violence and abuse. 
For instance, in a recent national survey (pdf), when shelters were asked about the severity and types of violence encountered by the women they admitted, 16 percent of them expressed much more severe violence, 36 percent said somewhat more, and 48 percent replied about the same. In addition, over 37 percent of the respondents said they had seen changes in the types of violence inflicted on women, and that they were seeing women scoring “higher on danger risk assessments with higher indicators of lethality.” 
The report also noted that lockdown measures and isolation have made it “even more difficult for survivors to reach out for help.”
Besides that, survey data shows the number of crisis calls and requests for admittance to shelters changed during the different phases of the pandemic. For example, 59 percent of respondents said there was a decrease in crisis calls from March to May. But calls started to increase again from June to October, reported 61 percent of them. 
“At first, it was very quiet, which was concerning because we knew there were women in the community who needed support,” a respondent said. “We did not get busier until September and now we are very steady with both calls and stays in the shelters.”