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Calls to Maggie’s Resource Centre not up, but risk of domestic violence is

Executive Director for Maggie’s Resource Centre Tanya MacKinnon says that while they haven’t seen an increase in calls – or many at all for that matter – the risk of domestic violence has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

MacKinnon says that before the pandemic victims may have a place to go to get away from their abuser. Whether that was the house of a friend or family member or go do errands around town. “If the abuser is constantly present, there’s that awareness by the person that’s being abused that their every move is being watched so it makes it harder for them to report,” MacKinnon explains.

She says it’s a “strong” possibility that due to that, victims are afraid or unable to call Maggie’s or someone else to get help.

MacKinnon says the pandemic makes it difficult to help. “There’s no one watching,” she says. “They’re stuck at home.” MacKinnon says it’s hard to know what’s going on behind closed doors.

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“What we’ve been expecting that tensions are rising in homes,” she adds. MacKinnon says it’s possible that due to being around the same people more often than ever before, she says there is a possibility a healthy relationship could become toxic. For the same reasons previous abuse could escalate, MacKinnon explains it could also cause it to start. “We don’t have the same social outlets we did previously before we were locked up during this pandemic,” MacKinnon says. An issue that was minor before could become major and be what causes the relationship to become violent.

It could be difficult to help people during this pandemic, MacKinnon says, due to the isolation factor. She explains that Maggie’s often sets up a code word with a victim that they can quickly text to a resource worker or friend. She recommends doing something like that or something that wouldn’t tip off the abuser to what’s going on. “It might spark the thought that this might need some further investigation from someone other than me,” MacKinnon says.

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