VANCOUVER — A new report from Statistics Canada says one in three shelters for people fleeing abuse reported they were greatly affected in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report used data from 557 Canadian shelters taken on April 14, 2021, which aimed to represent a typical day of operation.
Accommodation capacity was the greatest pandemic-related challenge with 61 per cent of the facilities reporting reducing their number of beds to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.
It found 93 per cent of residents were staying in facilities for reasons related to abuse and 84 per cent of them were fleeing intimate partner violence.
There was a 49 per cent increase in the number of crisis calls when compared to before the pandemic, and several shelters reported expanding services to connect with victims digitally including by text message.
The report says shelter admissions dropped by 31 per cent when compared to 2017-18, but it noted several barriers at the start of the pandemic for those escaping violence, including fears about contracting the virus.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April12, 2022.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
The Canadian Press