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Police-reported family violence has declined due to containment measures linked to COVID-19, according to Statistics Canada data released Thursday.
“In the absence of data, there was this hypothesis that the pandemic would negatively impact the family,” said Peter Jon Mitchell, family director for Cardus, an Ottawa think tank and publisher of a journal of theology.
“Instead, the pandemic has shown us that couples and parents have what it takes.”
The Blacklock reporter said the StatsCan report said rates of domestic violence have declined overall since the pandemic began in March 2020, including a drop in spousal homicide rates. In Toronto alone, domestic violence calls to police fell 30%.
“The pandemic restrictions meant that many people were spending more time at home with family members, often working from home and participating in virtual learning,” the analysts wrote.
“Many have experienced increased stress due to social isolation, economic uncertainty and other factors. Together, these factors have led researchers and victim service providers to expect a significant increase in family violence during the period of restrictions.
The report says violent crime declined in March, April and May as restrictions were imposed. The declines were found to be larger for women, with a 9% decrease in domestic violence compared to men, down 4% from April 2020 compared to April 2019.
Mitchell said the data contradicts previous claims that families and partners will suffer during the lockdown.
“We were made to believe that the pandemic would be a disaster in divorce courts and that did not happen,” said Mitchell, who said there had been no peak in divorce.
“Looking at other datasets, it seems families are doing quite well in Canada,” Mitchell said. “Families and marriages in Canada are social institutions that deserve to be supported. The family remains the cornerstone of society, even though we no longer see families as social institutions. “
From the onset of the pandemic, federal agencies predicted greater family breakdown, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“Let me take a moment to speak directly to the children,” Trudeau told reporters in March 2020.
“You haven’t seen your friends, you can’t go to school, you squat with your parents and you watch the world you know drastically change. It’s a source of anxiety, it’s a source of tension, ”Trudeau said, encouraging children to contact Kids Help Phone.
Kids Help Phone received $ 7.5 million from Trudeau in anticipation of an increase in distress calls. The organization did not respond to questions on Thursday about the actual volume of calls in 2020 compared to the previous year.
In June 2020, Kids Help Phone CEO Katherine Hay told the Senate Social Affairs Committee that family violence had increased due to COVID closures and had the data to prove it.
“When we’re in COVID and the kids are isolated – and I see the data in front of me right now – young people aren’t necessarily safe in their homes, they should feel safe,” Hay said. “It’s not going well.”
Melanie Risdon is a reporter at Western Standard