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Measures put in place to mitigate COVID-19, such as stay at home orders, have put families experiencing intimate partner violence at greater risk. In particular, young women and women with children have been identified at greater risk for increased violence, housing instability, and decreased service provision.

The project will investigate patterns of violence and housing instability, and examine changes to experiences and services during the pandemic. The project will undertake a realist informed review of literature and conduct primary research. The project will also work closely with survivors to create digital narratives. Using the knowledge created, the project will build collaboration with policy makers, service providers and other knowledge users.

Intimate partner violence can have a significant impact on women’s economic security and employment. It can lead to job instability and loss. This can be because of poor mental health, trauma, relocation and sabotage by an abusive partner. For racialized women with experiences of intimate partner violence, this can be compounded by structural barriers and racism.

WomanACT consulted organizations that serve survivors of intimate partner violence and organizations that specialize in employment services for women on the barriers faced by organizations and survivors. The report explores what we heard from services providers, including their ideas for advancing survivors economic security and employment.

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In January 2021, the Canadian government announced a commitment to develop a National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence. Leading up to the development of the Plan, we undertook consultations with community organizations and survivors on what they wanted to see in the Plan.

The report provides an overview of what we heard from consultations, including key messages and priorities for the Plan.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on survivors of gender-based violence and the organizations that support them. Health and safety measures to curb the spread of the virus have resulted in some survivors left isolating with their abusers and facing additional economic and social pressures.

This report highlights findings from a consultation we undertook at the outset of the pandemic. The report summarizes the challenges and concerns of service agencies working with survivors, information on the support they require to continue to operate during a pandemic as well as information on what is working well.

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In September 2020, the government of Canada announced the new Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) to help address the urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians by rapidly creating new affordable housing. This letter in response urges the government to ensure the initiative is aligned with Canada’s National Housing Strategy. It also asks the government to recognize the disproportional barriers that women and their children fleeing intimate partner violence face in accessing housing.

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