- Posting by Chidi
The Ending Violence Association of Canada conducted a survey of over 100 sexual violence organizations (SVO) to determine the level of demand experienced by sexual assault centres, rape crisis lines, and other providers of survivor support during the pandemic. The study found that organizations were under increased pressure as demand rose for such services during the pandemic, and as a result of the #MeToo movement, which prompted more people to come forward and report incidents of sexual violence.
Key findings from the study:
- A full 83 per cent of SVOs reported increased or consistently high demand for sexual violence support services compared to pre-pandemic levels.
- Seventy-six per cent of SVOs reported increased or consistently high wait times, resulting in even longer delays to access services than before COVID-19. The longest wait times were for individual and group counselling, with reported waits of six months to a year or longer.
- The deepening complexity of underlying factors that compound the impact of sexualized violence may be contributing to these increases, including lack of affordable housing, unemployment, poor health, deteriorating mental well-being and increasing addictions.
The survey also found that COVID-19 impacted employee health and the human resources capacity of sexual violence organizations:
- Forty-six per cent of organizations reported staff taking medical leave for pandemic-related reasons such as stress, burnout, and illness.
- Fifty-four per cent reported facing increased challenges in recruiting and retaining qualified staff.
- Nearly 18 per cent had staff who retired early or left the workforce altogether during COVID-19.
For further information about the National Survey of Sexual Violence Organizations (SVOs) and Services, click here.
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