“We’re open and here to help.”

That’s the message during the COVID-19 pandemic that local women’s emergency shelters wish to share with the public.

“COVID-19 may mean social distancing and isolation but for those facing domestic violence, isolation means no contact with extended family, friends or co-workers”, said Janine Lafreniere, Executive Director of Nipissing Transition House. “Our fear is due to the pandemic, and the rules around social distancing and isolation, some may feel they have no place to go for help.”

Officials say five of the regional women’s emergency shelters have banded together to send the ‘we’re open and here to help’ message to anyone experiencing abuse during the pandemic.

“People in need of assistance may think we are closed” said Lafreniere. “We’re open and here to help those in crisis trying to flee an abusive relationship.”

Officials add that women and children face a greater threat of abuse, especially when isolating at home. Access to help may seem more difficult as it can be tougher to leave or seek help because an abusive partner is isolating at home with them 24 hours a day.

“We appreciate the Stay Home advisory to keep everyone safe from COVID-19, but these times are creating extraordinary challenges for the vulnerable,” Lafreniere explained.

Officials say if you or you know of someone in an abusive relationship are in of need help, please contact the following shelters in your area:

  • Nipissing Transition House, North Bay – (705) 476-2429
  • Ojibway Women’s Lodge, Nipissing First Nation – (705) 472-3321
  • Crisis Centre–Four Elms Emergency Shelter, North Bay – (705) 474-1031
  • Mattawa Women’s Resource Centre – (705) 744-5567
  • Horizon’s Women Centre, Sturgeon Falls – (705) 753-1154