‘We have tried to remain warm despite the rules.’ Domestic violence and COVID-19: implications for shelters’ policies and practices

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  • 1 University of Ottawa, Canada
  • | 2 Laurentian University, Canada
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This article presents findings from a study that investigated the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on domestic violence shelters’ policies and practices. This study was conducted in partnership with feminist organisations in two regions in the Quebec, Canada. Qualitative data were collected from nine domestic violence shelters, using a web-based questionnaire. Thematic content analysis was conducted using NVivo. The research findings reveal that the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for shelters, as they have had to ensure women’s and children’s safety while preventing the spread of the virus. In this context, they have had to adapt their services and practices, and it has sometimes been difficult to maintain their feminist approach. Nonetheless, shelters have been creative and have developed multiple strategies to overcome these challenges and to ensure women’s and children’s access to services. The research findings contribute to our understanding of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlight the essential role that these organisations have played to ensure women’s and children’s safety at a time when they have been particularly vulnerable.

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