Police across Canada reported a 12 per cent increase in requests for assistance over the early months of the pandemic. (File photo)

Domestic disturbances increase over 2020

Data from police across Canada reveal a 12 per cent increase in reported domestic disturbances

Recent data from Statistics Canada paints a depressing picture for domestic violence in Canada, with the government agency reporting a 12 percent increase in the number of domestic disturbances in the early months of the pandemic.

The data was gathered from police agencies around Canada, including the RCMP, and defined domestic disturbances as “anything from a verbal quarrel to reports of violence at a residence.”

The range of data was between March and June 2020, and compared the numbers of calls for police assistance to the same period in 2019.

Along with domestic disturbances, welfare checks were up 12 per cent and mental health checks were up 11 per cent.

At the same time, the data revealed fewer instances of property crimes and impaired driving.

Executive director at the Fernie Women’s Resource Centre, Lauren Fox said that the numbers for domestic disturbances “do not surprise me one bit.”

While Fox explained that data specific to the Elk Valley was unavailable, the bottom line was that crisis events in a society lead to higher instances of domestic violence.

“There is a plethora of research out there that says during a major crisis event (such a wildfires), incidences of domestic violence increase.

“I am not surprised to see that in a pandemic, when people are isolated even more so, that there is an increase in domestic violence.”

Services like those offered by the FWRC were identified as essential early in the pandemic, so the FWRC remained open throughout.

“For us, we know that we can be a lifeline for people. They’re calling in asking us very serious questions about things that impact their, and their children’s safety.

“We’re not an emergency service, but we’re definitely an essential service, and its important for people to know they can call us and have access to the information they need,” she said.

If you need assistance from the FWRC, which provides support and resources to women in the Elk Valley, contact them by calling 250-423-4687, email them at fwrc@shaw.ca, or visit their website at ferniewomenscentre.com. The FWRC operate in Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford.

Another resource, Elk Valley Safehomes, are available 24 hours a day at 250-946-6004.

READ MORE: Fernie Women’s Resource Centre continues to meet community needs

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