Nanaimo’s domestic violence unit shares resources during pandemic

Nanaimo’s domestic violence unit shares resources during pandemic

Social distancing hasn’t led to big uptick in domestic violence, but children being exposed to it

Police in Nanaimo are saying social distancing and isolating at home haven’t triggered an “appreciable” increase in domestic violence, but when it does happen, children are at home and at risk.

The domestic violence unit, launched in 2015, is Nanaimo’s collective response to intimate partner violence and is one of 13 such units across B.C. that offers resources to help families and other domestic partnerships should violence or escalating conflicts break out in homes.

Under restraints imposed on families because of the coronavirus, children at home throughout the day because of school closures are at higher risk of being affected should emotions boil over.

“We’re not seeing an appreciable increase in domestic violence in Nanaimo under coronavirus restrictions, Nanaimo RCMP respond to about two incidents per day, but in almost all cases now, kids are at home and being exposed to domestic violence,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.

READ ALSO: Statistics Canada report looks at COVID-19’s impact on violence in the family

READ ALSO: Broader gender focus needed for COVID-19 response, advocates say

The Nanaimo DVU, according to an RCMP release Monday, is made up of RCMP members, probation officers, social workers and victim services personnel from the RCMP and Haven Society, who meet weekly as families are brought to their attention.

“Physical violence is only one component of intimate partner violence,” said Const. Sherri Wade, Nanaimo RCMP domestic violence investigator. “People who work in the field recognize that there are equally dangerous forms of control a person can inflict on their partners including threats, isolation, emotional abuse and harassment, which may cause long-term emotional and psychological harm to their partner and children. Intimate partner violence flourishes in an atmosphere of secrecy and shame. The role of the DVU is to wrap a family with all the resources at our disposal to reduce the harm and to eliminate their shame and pain.”

For complete details about and contact information for the resources available to assist with domestic violence, visit

READ ALSO: Domestic violence shelters adapt as COVID-19 forces families home
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