Telus and Tom Harris Cellular are donating 600 smartphones to women facing violence during the pandemic.
The Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society (COEFS) is one of the organizations in the province receiving a number of phones, which will be distributed by the Ending Violence Association of British Columbia (EVA BC).
200 phones will be donated to women facing violence and abuse, and the other 400 hundred will be given to frontline anti-violence workers. The phones all have data and unlimited Canada-wide calling for an entire year.
EVA BC said the phones are meant to help women living in abusive homes to stay connected to their communities and other sources of help.
“According to the federal government, domestic and sexualized violence have risen 20-30 per cent in some regions across Canada since COVID-19,” EVA BC said.
According to advocates and experts, isolation and the stress of the pandemic are causing an increase in domestic and sexualized violence.
The phones’ donation comes at a good time, EVA BC executive director Tracy Porteous said.
“A cell phone is a critical tool for those facing violence to help them communicate with advocates and first responders, she said.
“This donation could not have come at a more crucial time.”
COEFS executive director Michelle Novakowski said the phones will make a huge difference for the isolated women they help, as well as the staff that are helping them.
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.