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Ontario giving $2.7 million to help victims of crime, support staff during COVID-19

Thursday, April 02, 2020 @ 3:11 PM | By Terry Davidson

Ontario is increasing support to victims of domestic violence who may be finding it difficult to flee dangerous situations during the COVID-19 health crisis.

On April 2, Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey announced that more than $2.7 million will be given to support services in the province that help victims of crime — particularly those experiencing domestic violence.

According to a news release, this one-time “emergency payment” will go to help more than 50 community agencies across Ontario to stay “operational and accessible” during the ongoing pandemic.

“Staying home is unfortunately not always the safest option in certain households and sadly a recent increase in domestic violence has been reported to front-line victim service organizations,” said Downey. “This emergency payment will ensure victims of crime, particularly those who are experiencing domestic violence, get the help they need to stay safe and healthy during this crisis.”

Funds will go to help front-line staff who find themselves responding “to challenges caused by the COVID-19 crisis.” For victims, the extra shot of money will mean greater access to extended hotel stays, meal vouchers and transportation.  

“During the COVID-19 health emergency, victim service providers are seeing a spike in domestic violence cases just as victims are left with fewer and fewer places to turn for help,” said Sheri MacDonald, president of the Ontario Network of Victim Service Providers. “The attorney general and his staff understand what we’re facing on the front lines and his co-operation and decisive action make a true difference for our clients.”