Help still available for victims of violence despite pandemic, says Ontario Network of Victim Service Providers

EASTERN ONTARIO — The Ontario Network of Victim Service Providers (ONVSP) reports that domestic and sexual assault calls have increased since the onset of the COVID19 pandemic. As the second wave becomes more serious, vulnerable people are finding themselves in increasingly difficult situations. As such, ONVSP would like to let victims know that help is available, despite the health emergency.

There are forty-four agencies across Ontario providing immediate service to those who need it, with 24/7 mobile crisis support for issues such as gender-based violence, human trafficking, elder abuse, homicides, fraud, natural disasters, and fatalities. ONVSP ensures non-judgemental, informed staff, who will guide victims on their journey whenever they are needed. Services include safety planning, providing for basic living needs, financial support, assistance navigating the criminal justice system, assistance meeting treatment needs, and transportation to safe accommodations.

“It can be distressing not knowing what services are available and how they are operating during these unprecedented times,” said Sheri MacDonald, President of the ONVSP. “But no one needs to feel alone. Please reach out for help. Victim services staff are available by phone or email, and are still working with their police partners, who can dispatch team members during an emergency any time of day.”

The ONVSP encourages anyone who feels unsafe to reach out to their local Victim services. If your life is in danger, please contact the police or call 9-1-1. For more information, email vshn@victimserviceshn.com or leanna@pathwaygroup.com, or visit www.victimservicesontario.ca/locations-1.

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