LETTER: CAPSA dealing with more cases of abuse during COVID

October is domestic violence awareness month, which means now is a timely opportunity to reflect on this issue and how it is affecting our community. During the Coronavirus pandemic, we have seen a sharp rise in people seeking help from abuse.

CAPSA has seen sustained, record increases in requests for services. In some cases, such as the Support Line, doubling the number of people reaching out compared with this time last year. This is historically the case during times of crisis – it happened in 2008 during the Great Recession as well. It speaks to the nature of abuse.

It’s easy to think about abuse as someone losing their cool and lashing out but, fundamentally, abuse is about power and control. It increases in times of crisis because people are losing a sense of control over their lives and making up for that elsewhere. Relationships that might not have crossed the threshold into dangerous before escalate during a crisis, can quickly become life-threatening and in some cases, survivors find themselves trapped at home worried for themselves and their children.

Fortunately, in this area there is help available.

CAPSA has adapted services to meet the increased need for support while still able to keep the survivors we help protected and healthy. But, preventing abuse and ensuring survivors get access to the support they need takes a community response. With so many people experiencing abuse, some realizing for the first time what they’re dealing with, it will take the community to ensure those who need help, get help.

So here is my request: check on your loved ones. Call your friends and family and make sure they’re doing alright and if they’re not, encourage them to get help. There are free and confidential resources available to everyone in our community who is dealing with abuse, no one has to handle it alone. If you aren’t sure or need advice on how to support a loved one, you can always call with questions.

Bryce Lancaster

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