Statistics Canada Releases Update on Impacts of COVID-19 on Victim Services in Canada
Due to social distancing and restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, many victim services in Canada had to modify their methods of assisting and supporting victims. Many physical locations had to close and staff worked primarily from home. Victim services commonly include counselling and crisis services (including sexual assault centres), protection services, as well as court preparation and accompaniment and other assistance to navigate the criminal justice system. Given the pandemic, many of these activities were severely curtailed, raising concerns about the ability of services to provide adequate access and support for victims of crime or violence.
- Half of victim services reported no change in the number of victims they served, while some reported increases and others reported decreases
- Large majority of respondents adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by having staff work from home and introducing enhanced health protection or cleaning practices
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, victim services that responded changed how they communicated with victims
- Most victim services that responded were impacted by their ability to access resources for clients and their shift to working remotely