Calls to a Vancouver-based crisis phone line for women experiencing domestic violence have been way up during the COVID-19 crisis.

Vancouver’s Battered Women’s Support Services says their staff have seen a 300-per-cent increase in calls over the last three weeks.

4:41Protecting domestic violence victims during the pandemic

Protecting domestic violence victims during the pandemic

The agency, which handles approximately 18,000 calls a year from women experiencing gender-based violence, says isolation because of COVID-19 is making it harder for women who are trying to leave unsafe situations.

Forty per cent of callers are reaching out for the first time, says Angela Marie MacDougall, the advocacy group’s executive director.

They are hearing from worried relatives, co-workers, neighbours, and even children as young as 12 years old.

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1:50Concerns for domestic violence victims in self-isolation

Concerns for domestic violence victims in self-isolation

“We’re getting calls from children and youth who have witnessed their mother’s abuse for their lifetime,” MacDougall said.

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