Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Women’s shelter sees increase in calls

CALEB NICKERSON
PONTIAC April 22, 2020
Staff at the local women’s shelter have seen an uptick in calls during the course of the COVID-19 distancing measures.
Ashley Nadeau, the coordinator of L’EntourElle, said while she can’t quantify the scale of the increase, staff are fielding more calls than usual.
“We’ve seen people are reaching out more,” she said. “A direct reach out. We do have a 24/7 crisis line and they are reaching out, for sure.”
Nadeau added that they’ve also had to adjust how they interact with the women who approach them for help. Since face to face meetings have been restricted, they’ve had to switch to more online and telephone communications.
“The service that we offered before was … women that aren’t ready to come into sheltering, we would go out in the community to meet with them, just to establish intervention plans and whatnot,” she explained. “But right now that’s not happening, so everything is done by telephone, all of our followups are still on but they’re just done by telephone.”
“It’s different now because our telephone followups are more frequent,” she continued. “Let’s say one particular file, I would be meeting with her every week or every second week, well it’s every second day I’m giving her a call right now, just checking in.”
If a woman suffering from domestic violence is unable to safely reach out by phone, Nadeau explained that they have been promoting methods of covertly seeking help during lockdown, such as putting a note in the mailbox or giving it to a trusted neighbour.
“If she’s having groceries delivered to her place, slip a note in the payment for the delivery guy, if you need to go to the pharmacy, deliver a note to the cashier or the cashier at the grocery store if you know that you are the one going out, stuff like that,” she said.
“We have informed those companies, the pharmacy and the grocery stores, they all have our information so that if a victim presents themselves at their cash, they know where to call and how to find us rapidly.”
Nadeau added that their shelter, which has nine places and is typically filled to capacity, has also had to implement different protocols to protect everyone’s health.
“We still do offer sheltering, that’s something that’s still going on,” she said. “We have measures put into place to ensure employee security, and resident’s security also.”
Quebec’s domestic violence crisis line is 1 800 363 9010. To contact L’EntourElle directly, call 819 683 2709.

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