Victim Services of Nipissing District (VSND), in a news release today, says the COVID-19 crisis may mean more domestic violence in the community.
Kathleen Jodouin, Executive Director says this is a challenging time and self-isolation can be just that, isolating, making difficult home situations even harder.
“Victim Services is still available for support and you do not need to remain in a dangerous situation”.
VSND is encouraging anyone who is unsafe at home to reach out.
"VSND is still working with police and EMS providing 24/7 crisis response services," according to the release.
"While the organization is currently working remotely, phone messages and emails are being returned promptly and police as always can dispatch VSND during an emergency any time of day. If you are in danger call 911."
Jodouin says the challenge of navigating community and health supports has only increased as a result of COVID-19 with many organizations like VSND operating remotely.
“It can be distressing not knowing what services are available and how they are operating during these unprecedented times.
"During this stressful time tensions at home can escalate erupting into violent situations. VSND is trying to get out the message that no one needs to feel alone in an unsafe situation as support is just a phone call away."
Neighbors, friends, and family can also keep an eye out and reach out to VSND for information on what services are available in Nipissing.
Leave a detailed message at 705-472-2649.
Meanwhile, the government of Ontario is providing an emergency payment of more than $2.7 million to support services for victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes during the COVID-19 crisis.
"Staying home is unfortunately not always the safest option in certain households and sadly a recent increase in domestic violence has been reported to front-line victim service organizations," said Attorney General Doug Downey. "This emergency payment will ensure victims of crime, particularly those who are experiencing domestic violence, get the help they need to stay safe and healthy during this crisis."
This additional one-time emergency payment will help more than 50 community agencies across Ontario, including victim crisis assistance organizations (VCAOs), Indigenous organizations and those based in rural areas, stay operational and accessible to victims during the public health crisis. Funds will help front-line staff respond to challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis and enhance access to immediate supports for victims, including extended hotels stays, and transportation and meal vouchers available through the Victim Quick Response Program Plus (VQRP+).
"During the COVID-19 health emergency, victim service providers are seeing a spike in domestic violence cases just as victims are left with fewer and fewer places to turn for help," said Ontario Network of Victim Service Provider President, Sheri MacDonald. "The Attorney General and his staff understand what we're facing on the front lines and his cooperation and decisive action make a true difference for our clients."
To support these efforts, the government is spending $1.3 million in technology to help courts and tribunals continue the transition to remote operations. They include additional laptops, conference lines and doubling the complement of digital recording devices for court use. This funding was announced on March 25th in Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19.
Ontario's courts and tribunals continue to shift to audio and video conferencing to hear priority matters. To date, all courtrooms in the Ontario Court of Justice are operating remotely. Matters involving individuals held in custody are now being held remotely, removing the need for transportation and transfers between correctional facilities and courthouses.
Ontario is also working with justice partners to support the transition to remote operations, including expanding e-filing tools.