Majority of B.C. Indigenous respondents saw rise of partner violence during pandemic: report

B.C. Indigenous women and gender diverse people saw an increase of intimate partner violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent report.

85 per cent of survey respondents said they noticed violence in their partner that started at the onset of the pandemic and 77 per cent of them say the violence in their intimate partnership got worse.

The report, called The Road to Safety, surveyed 95 Indigenous women and gender diverse people.

The report was done by the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC), along with Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS), and The University of Victoria.

Executive Director of BWSS, Angela MacDougall, said the report shows the need for more services for Indigenous abuse survivors.

“We are not even close to meeting the needs of the services and that has really just been compounded during COVID-19,” MacDougall said.


The report also shows 70 per cent of participants reported having to leave home because of intimate partner violence and 85 per cent left home during the pandemic more than once.

“That is jarring,” said MacDougall, adding this proves the province needs more support services, especially in places outside of Metro Vancouver.

“We know there is not enough services throughout British Columbia in rural areas and we know there is barriers for Indigenous survivors to access the services that do exist.”

The report calls on provincial and federal governments to make Indigenous supports a priority.

MacDougall says these services need to offer specific cultural support, “delivered by and for Indigenous survivors.”

BCAAFC was recently put in charge of a B.C. Government grant of $5.34 million.

That grant is expected to be used to help fund Indigenous communities and organizations expand safety planning to help end violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQ+ people.

Eligible projects include support for hosting planning sessions, culturally appropriate safety training as well as healing and cultural supports.

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