The World Health Organization and the Public Health Agency of Canada have both recognized gender-based violence as a significant public health issue. With isolation measures in place, reduced income, disrupted family routines, and feeling loss of control, these added stresses are known triggers for violence in the home. The reality of gender-based violence remains – and it continues to disproportionately impact women. With decreased access to support, services, and resources, and a major lack of funding in this area, the safety, health, and well-being of women in our community are at stake.
During the COVID-19 pandemic many community-based care providers are working from home, due to physical and social distancing safety measures. In this moment, technology plays a vital role, ensuring that survivors in need can still access critical support services such as hotlines, safe spaces, referral pathways, and justice mechanisms.
In direct response, our COVID-19 Funds have prioritized the need to address gender-based violence. Together with the Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC) we have launched a $600,000 fundraising initiative to ensure life-saving resources continue to be made available for women who have experienced or are at risk of experiencing violence.
Donations have already started to make an impact, helping to equip frontline responders with virtual communication tools. Conference call lines and bulk subscriptions to online video platforms are assisting frontline responders to provide clinical support and consultations while working from home. Equipped with upgraded laptops and tablets, these tools allow women’s shelters, transition houses, and organizations across the province to enhance their support to women – from risk assessments to safety planning through online chats or video calls.
Donor funds have also been used to deliver additional online training to service providers to enhance their ability to provide care from home, as well as contribute to ongoing information bulletins, newsletters, and PSA’s highlighting the prevalence of gender-based violence, such as publishing a Survivor’s Resource Guide on Tech Safety and Support.
“We’re exceptionally grateful to the BC Women’s Health Foundation for their generous partnership and for their amazing fundraising work. The funds they’re raising will help our frontline workers across the province provide safe and enhanced support to victims and survivors of sexualized violence during COVID-19 and beyond. During this time of increased risk, that will include everything from buying laptops or tablets for workers, to providing online training and secure and safe platforms for communicating with survivors of violence.” – Tracy Porteous, Executive Director, EVA BC
Pictured above: Staff from EVA BC extend their gratitude to all our donors and supporters for strengthening access to essential services for survivors of gender-based violence.
Social isolation and physical distancing policies unintentionally create serious challenges for women at risk of violence, and for those trying to provide support services. While these isolation measures are gradually being lifted, the reality of gender-based violence remains – and it continues to disproportionately impact women. The United Nations named gender-based violence the “shadow pandemic” of COVID-19, because disasters have exacerbated pre-existing gender inequities.
Leading the way, the urgent need to support anti-violence programs was selected by a group of anesthesiologists working at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH). Collectively, they have donated $50,000 as frontline responders supporting other healthcare workers and service providers who are now dealing with a surge in demand for help, as survivors emerge from isolation. This gift was further matched by BC Women’s Health Foundation’s Board of Directors who have designated $50,000 towards this initiative as part of their $100,000 commitment in support of women’s health during our 25th Anniversary year.
Net proceeds from the “Ending Violence Together” face mask along with additional donations from the ‘Support Women Protect Others’ campaign continue to support EVA BC and their gender-based violence programs.
There’s still more to do in our $600,000 fundraising initiative. We’re so grateful to all our donors for supporting our partnership through your donations, mask purchases, and raising your voice in our community to combat gender-based violence during and beyond COVID-19.
The Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC) serves as a resource for over 300 community-based services and initiatives supporting survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence, child abuse, and criminal and sexual harassment. They work collaboratively to create comprehensive province-wide prevention and response systems to support communities impacted by gender-based violence.
- Purchase the limited edition ‘Ending Violence Together’ Face Mask to provide direct support to gender-based violence programs.
- Read 10 facts on gender-based violence.
- Make a donation today to our COVID-19 Fund: Women + Families to deliver life-saving resources to women as part of a provincial gender-based violence response.
BC Women’s Health Foundation is BC’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the full spectrum of women’s health. The information shared is intended to educate, inform, and point readers to credible sources. It is not intended to substitute professional medical advice.