Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Ontario Network of Victim Service Providers (ONVSP) have seen an increase in domestic violence and sexual assault calls, the organization stated in a news release issued today.
With a second wave becoming increasingly turbulent, so are the lives of vulnerable persons. ONVSP wants to let victims know that emergency support is available.
Across Ontario there are 44 ONVSP member agencies, where staff continue to work 24/7 to ensure victims receive the immediate support they need. ONVSP would like to raise awareness of the services its members offer to help victims and their families.
ONVSP members are the only agencies that provide 24/7 mobile crisis support. They provide support to victims experiencing a wide range of situations and trauma related issues, including but not limited to: gender-based violence, human trafficking, elder abuse, homicides, fraud, natural disasters, fatalities, etc.
ONVSP members ensure victims are informed, considered, protected, and supported from the time of crime, through any experiences with the criminal justice system, and over the long-term.
Each agency offers various services and programs throughout its catchment area, including:
- individualized in-depth safety planning
- hiding them while a treatment plan is arranged
- providing basic living needs – shelter, clothing, toiletries, food
- accessing immediate financial support
- quickly building a therapeutic rapport that facilitates open communication
- helping with anticipatory guidance should they report to police and charges laid to assist them to meet treatment requirements – replacement of government documents to be able to access treatment services and be issued any necessary medication, etc.
- non-judgemental acceptance should they run for a period of time
- transportation to safe accommodations and for medical appointments, treatments/services
“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, in the release. “But no one needs to feel alone. Please reach out for help. Victim services staff are available by phone and e-mail, 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, to contact police or phone 911.
Visit Victim Services Algoma here.