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N.B. shelter seeks online donations to continue work helping those escaping domestic violence
MONCTON -- We've all been asked to keep to ourselves as much as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, but how isolated would you feel if you were afraid of your partner?
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the shutdown of many services, but the doors remain open at the Crossroads For Women Shelter in Moncton -- a safe haven and transition home for women and children escaping domestic violence.
“Our services are even more essential now, because these women are isolated and have nowhere to go or no one to turn to,” says Chantal Poirier, the executive director at the shelter.
Poirier says Crossroads has seen an increase in calls for help and her heart goes out to the women and children who are feeling isolated.
“If you think about it, a lot of them would even just go out to the grocery store if they’re able to and have social interaction, even if it’s with people that they don’t know,” says Poirier.
“As children, their social interactions were in the schools, which they no longer have.”
New Brunswick RCMP say, in recent weeks, they have seen a slight increase in calls for service related to domestic violence.
Both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia RCMP say they're encouraging anyone who feels trapped to call police.
“We understand that there might be a bit of additional stress on people, on financial challenges, on social isolation and changes to the daily routine,” says Cpl. Jennifer Clarke, spokesperson for the Nova Scotia RCMP.
“We're asking Nova Scotians to do what they do best and that’s to look out for one another and ask for help when they need it.”
Poirier says her team is encouraging those in domestic violence situations to get outside and turn to virtual social interactions.
She’s also looking at ramping up staff, as she predicts numbers will jump in the coming weeks.
“We are seeing some of our cases come in a bit more severe than what we're used to,” says Poirier.
“So I think the women and children may be trying to control the situation themselves at home or deal with it at home and it gets to a point where they no longer can.”
The shelter was forced to cancel its main fundraising events because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it has launched an online campaign to help keep its services going.
Crossroads is asking those who are able to donate $10 and to ask five friends to do the same.
If you or someone you know is at risk or is a victim of domestic violence, the website endingviolencecanada.org is a resource that provides information on where to go for help in every province.