COVID-19 : An Update

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

With Ontario’s recent introduction of Stage 2 in the COVID-19 plan, we wanted to share an update with our community.

As always, The Women’s Centre Grey Bruce, continues to provide twenty-four hour service including emergency shelter, counselling, crisis line, and advocacy to women and children experiencing abuse across communities in Grey and Bruce counties.

We, along with 70 other VAW shelters in Ontario, are also responding to the existing Gender-Based Violence Pandemic. We are facing a complicated and unprecedented situation, when “self-isolating at home” is both the primary advice to respond to the pandemic, and yet the home can also be the place where harassment, violence and lethality for gender-based violence occurs.

We continue to take direction from government and public health officials. In addition to a no-visitor policy, we are continuing our screening process for women and children wishing to stay with us. We have increased our already-exemplary cleaning and sanitation processes and all staff and clients must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) while in the shelter. Additional offsite locations are also currently being used to facilitate safe sheltering of our clients.

COVID-19 has forced us to modify our program delivery, including the introduction of virtual outreach and counselling appointments. In light of physical distancing guidelines, group sessions have been suspended and staff continue to work remotely, when possible. We’ve also changed how our backyard space is used during these times of physical distancing with the creation of separate “zones” for children, women and staff. The Kiwanis Club of Owen Sound supported the purchase of a children’s play set and we hope to make further improvements, including building a shade structure and purchasing additional patio furniture for the women to enjoy a reprieve from their rooms, while still practising physical distancing.

The generosity of our community continues to shine through, as evidenced by the individuals and corporations who have partnered with us to help women and children build safe and sustainable lives as they move away from abuse and violence. Donations of essential items, including non-perishable food, toiletries and grocery store/pharmacy gift cards can be arranged through email or by phone, 519-376-0755 x 103. Donations toward the backyard rejuvenation and our other programs can be made online, via email or by cheque to 2048 A 9th Avenue East, Owen Sound ON, N4K 3H2.

If you’re seeking safety from aabusive situation, call us at 519-371-1600toll-free at 1-800-265-3722 or text 226-974-0755. If you’re in immediate danger, call 911. 

Thank you staff, volunteers and donors, for your continued support while we navigate these unprecedented times.

Heather Sheldrick
Executive Director