Crisis Support for Abused Women & Seniors Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Isolation has long been a red flag in abusive relationships. A favourite in the abuser’s toolkit as a way to exert control and create distance between a woman and her friends and family. But what happens when isolation and social distancing are imposed out of necessity? Where can women turn for support? And what of Seniors who are so vulnerable to abuse when socially isolated?
During this time of crisis and uncertainty, the Assaulted Women’s Helpline (AWHL) and the Senior Safety Line (SSL) remain committed to delivering our 24/7 crisis counselling for women and seniors in the province of Ontario. As more community services reduce their hours or close their doors over the next few weeks, our crisis lines remain open and our dedicated counsellors are ready to help support women and seniors throughout this chaotic period. Sadly we have seen an increase in the number of calls that simply cannot get through because our lines are at capacity. As we may be the only place for women and seniors to turn for emotional support and crisis intervention during this extraordinary time, this is deeply concerning.
Like so many organizations providing critical social services we know the very real economic impact faced by individuals and businesses will have a detrimental effect on our ability both now and in the months to come to raise funds. Already we have placed some programs on hold and others may need to be reconsidered as limits are imposed on gatherings. And yet, those funds will be desperately needed to meet the increase in calls we are experiencing now and the increase we anticipate once the long slow economic recovery begins.
To our valued supporters, we thank you for ensuring that we are able to be there for women and seniors in the darkest of times.