Adam Prudhomme Editor
Stay home, stay safe-a slogan that has been used often the last two months as experts push the need to isolate to slow the spread of COVID-19.
For the one in four women in Canada who report being assaulted by their partner however, home isn’t always safe.
That’s why Lennox and Addington Interval House is letting women know they will remain open throughout the pandemic, offering shelter for those who need to flee an unsafe situation. They offer a safe place to stay, transitional housing and counselling support to abused women and their children. They assist women who have been physically, sexually, emotionally or financially abused or those in fear they may be assaulted.
“Women who are in any sort of unhealthy relationship, we do have services to support them through this,” said Sara Bobbie, child and youth worker at L&A Interval House. “It’s an especially hard situation when they’re isolated from everyone and not being able to have their natural support out there like friends and family.”
A few precautions have been added-such as screening for COVID-19 symptoms before being admitted to a shelter with other residents. Bobbie says even if there were a need to quarantine, they have isolated space for women seeking their help.
“We’re still staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, our crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Bobbie. “Really the only change we have is our outreach team, we’re using alternative methods for counselling.”
Bobbie says most counselling is being done over the phone for now while they explore ways to host video conferencing that is 100 per cent confidential.
Anyone in immediate danger is encouraged to call 9-1-1. To reach the L&A Interval House for a non-life threatening or non-immediate threat of harm issue, their crisis line is 1-613-354-1010.
They also have a text line (1-613-449-1080) that can be used for non-emergency questions, such as information into the services they provide. Bobbie says the text option is a good solution for a woman who might not have the privacy to make a phone call. Once they send the text they can delete it from their phone if they’re worried a spouse may go through their phone and discover it.
Like all charities, L&A Interval House has had to cancel fundraising events in the wake of COVID-19. The need for their services in the community remains, as do their operating costs. More information on what they do, as well as options to donate to their cause, can be found at www.intervalhousenapanee.ca/.