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VIDEO: Violence against women worsened during the pandemic

People had little choice, but to spend more time at home during the pandemic.

For some, that meant spending more time alone with an abusive partner.

"What we saw was that women and children were not able to leave the home," said Allison Mclauchlan.

She's the executive director of the Kelowna Women's Shelter.

"Also the perpetrators of the abuse were not leaving the home," she added.

"What that caused was an increase in the severity of domestic abuse."

Still, Mclauchlan is careful to make the distinction that the pandemic caused the abuse.

The blame, she said, is all at the feet of the abuser.

"We have to get away from those myths that stressful situations, pandemics, drugs, alcohol cause domestic abuse," said Mclauchlan.

"The COVID didn't cause the abuse, it fueled the severity and the number of incidents."

She acknowledges that COVID stressed all of us out, but doesn't want to see it used as an excuse.

"We were all isolated, we were all dealing with this pandemic, but not everybody turned into abusers."

Every four days a woman in Canada is killed by a partner or an ex-partner.

That was already the case before the pandemic came along.

"The fact that women can't get out of the home to ask for safety, to reach out for help, then you're looking at a very, very dangerous situation," said Mclauchlan.

The rising costs of housing have also added to the problem.

"There are very few rentals in Kelowna and very few affordable rentals in Kelowna for women to be able to be able to leave shelter and move on with their life," she explained.

Mclauchlan knows that when people hear about this many react by saying, 'she just needs to leave', but she said it's not a fair way to approach it.

"Again," she added, "we're putting the blame on the women and not on the perpetrator."

And there isn't always room at the women's shelter anyway.

"We're turning away women and children on a daily basis," said Mclauchlan. "We're full all the time."

Shelters have partnered with Shoppers Drug Mart to make it easy to help.

It's called the Love You campaign.

All donations made at your local Shoppers go to benefit your local shelter.




Send your comments, news tips, typos, letter to the editor, photos and videos to news@kelownanow.com.



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