‘Rates of family violence continue to rise as a result of COVID-19’
Manitoba is offering government employees and other frontline workers a new online family violence awareness course.
The self-directed learning program was developed by Willow Place, a Winnipeg-based family violence organization with shelter facilities and a range of on-site and community-based services, in partnership with government and community stakeholders across the province to support greater empathy for survivors and increased awareness of available resources.
“As rates of family violence continue to rise as a result of COVID-19, it’s especially important to give frontline workers the tools they need to help protect Manitobans,” says Cathey Cox, minister of sport, culture and heritage. “While many family violence survivors do not reach out for formal support, they may share their stories with a case worker, probation officer, nurse or employer. This course will help foster the listening skills and understanding needed to support survivors.”
Research has shown that social isolation, loss of employment and reduced income are all factors known to increase the risk of domestic violence and these conditions have been heightened in recent months, according to the federal government.
“In addition, the pandemic has led to increased stress, with lockdowns and families confined at home, the closure of schools and child care facilities, and possible increased tension in the home. For those experiencing violence, especially within the home, accessing help may be more difficult because of restricted contact with networks and sources of support, both formal (schools, counsellors, and victim services) and informal (family and friends).”