by Rebecca Bowslaugh and Simon Williams
(AJNews) – Due to the COVID-19 government shutdowns and mandatory quarantines, domestic violence increased significantly across the globe over the past two years. The drastic increase in intimate partner and domestic abuse has been coined the “Shadow Pandemic” by the United Nations. In Canada, one woman is killed in a violent act every three days. Legal Aid Alberta (LAA) reported a rise of 17 per cent since 2018 for emergency protection orders (EPO) that protect people facing domestic violence and remove the abuser from the family home.
In Israel, the situation is just as critical: in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, 20,140 domestic violence complaints were lodged with police, an increase of 12% from the previous year. In fact, 12 women have been murdered in the first six months of this year.
True to its mission, CHW is leading the way to empower women by stepping up emergency support and services at this critical time. Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW) is launching the second annual S.O.S – Starting Over Safely summer campaign, with proceeds helping to empower victims of domestic violence in Canada and Israel.
One of the most frightening things about domestic abuse is that half of the women murdered by their partners never experienced physical violence before. Domestic violence can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. This year, through a new partnership with Michal Sela Forum, CHW is also promoting an awareness campaign to help women understanding the warning signs in a relationship.
S.O.S – Starting Over Safely 2022 has three campaign priorities, including Franny’s Fund in Canada and WIZO Programs and the Michal Sela Forum in Israel. The following campaign goals will empower at-risk women and children to break the cycle of violence in Canada and Israel:
- Provide financial help for parents and families in need of an urgent response.
- Provide access to critical resources such as legal counsel and counselling services.
- Provide women and their children with the basic essentials to start over safely.
- Empower women and their children by providing financial help, social and personal support, employment support, and a network of other women in similar circumstances.
- Provide women and their children with specially trained canine protection
- Fund respite summer camp experiences for at-risk youth
CHW CEO, Lisa Colt-Kotler said, “CHW strongly believes that every human being deserves the right to achieve their full potential, while living in safety and security. You have the power to empower.”
The 2022 fundraising goal is $350,000. All funds donated will be matched three more times by a community of dedicated donors recognized as “Matching Heroes” during the 27-hour campaign, which kicks off at 12 PM ET on Tuesday, August 23, 2022. During the crowdfunding period, each gift donated on the website www.chwsos.ca is quadrupled.
To donate or learn more, visit www.chwsos.ca.
About Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW): Founded by visionary Jewish women in 1917, Canadian Hadassah-WIZO (CHW) is a non-political, non-partisan, national network of dedicated volunteers who believe that excellence and advancement of education, healthcare, and social services transcends politics, religion, and national boundaries. Learn more about CHW at www.chw.ca.