A coalition of local networks have come together to create an online chat and text service to support local women experiencing abuse.
Unsafe at Home Ottawa will provide support to victims and survivors of domestic violence and abuse. Since physical distancing and self-isolation were first implemented, advocates flagged concerns for those currently experiencing abuse. Advocates say they worry about a spike in violence with survivors and victims left with nowhere to turn.
Erin Leigh, the executive director of the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women, says chat lines are helpful to survivors but are unsafe for someone stuck at home with an abuser. “We want to make sure women have access to the services they need,” she said.
Unsafe at Home Ottawa was also launched with Crime Prevention Ottawa, Interval House of Ottawa and the Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre.
Text and chat services will be available each day from 8:30 a.m. to midnight. French and English services include referrals from trained counsellors. The conversations will be encrypted.
If you or someone you know needs help you can call (613) 704-5535 or visit unsafeathomeottawa.ca