The province is lending a hand to address the recent spike in domestic violence reported by victim services organizations during the COVID-19 crisis.

The government of Ontario is providing an emergency payment of more than $2.7 million to support services for victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes In response to the public health crisis and challenges these service providers are facing.

That includes $28,500 funding that will go to the District of Parry Sound Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Services, as well as $27,750 to Muskoka Victim Services.

The funding was announced by Attorney General Doug Downey and is in addition to the organization’s annual funding allocations.

“Staying home is unfortunately not always the safest option in certain households and sadly a recent increase in domestic violence has been reported to front-line victim service organizations,” Downey said in a news release.

This funding will help more than 50 community agencies across the province, including victim crisis assistance organizations, Indigenous organizations and those based in rural areas, stay operational and accessible to victims during the public health crisis.

In an interview with MyMuskokaNow, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka Norm Miller says the province is proving its commitment to supporting victims of domestic violence.

“Including extended hotel stays, transportation, meal vouchers that are all available through the Victim Quick Response Program Plus,” Miller said. “It’s the support that’s really needed and I’m very pleased that this emergency support has come quickly from the Attorney General.”

Miller notes the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic and job losses has exacerbated the situation for people living with a violent partner or family member.

He says this will ensure victims of crime, particularly those experiencing domestic violence, can get the help they need to stay safe and healthy during this crisis.

“It is a really stressful time as we are all staying home to prevent the spread of the virus. And some families’ homes may not be the best place and could be a dangerous place. So, make sure you reach out and get the support that is available.”

Miller says the best avenue for those in the district would be to reach out to the District of Parry Sound Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Service as well as the Muskoka Victim Services to see how they can help.