NORTH BAY — Ontario is taking emergency action to address domestic violence reported by victim services organizations during the COVID-19 crisis.
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 in response to the evolving public health crisis and challenges victim service providers are facing.
Kathleen Jodouin, Executive Director of Victim Services of Nipissing District, says this is a challenging time and self-isolation can be just that, isolating, making difficult home situations even harder.
"During this stressful time tensions at home can escalate erupting into violent situations," she said.
"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."
Victim Services in North Bay will receive $28,500 as part of this one-time emergency payment in addition to its annual funding allocation from the Ministry of the Attorney General.
"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," said MPP Victor Fedeli in a release.
"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," added Attorney General Downey.
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."