Rogers Communications today announced partnerships with women’s shelters across British Columbia, including in Metro Vancouver, Okanagan and on the island of Vancouver, to provide connectivity to support them in the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of this partnership, the company is providing free devices along with six months of free voice and data plans for these shelters, including the center’s women’s Eastside Center.
“With these devices, women are able to call family and friends, which for some may seem like a daily occurrence, but for marginalized women seeking refuge from pervasive violence, frequent abuse and difficult conditions, have access to a telephone is the key to their sense of security and belonging, “said Kate Gibson, interim executive director, Downtown Eastside Women’s Center, in a press release. “The phones and donated plans ensure that women can find safe accommodation with the assistance of the staff of the Center and the impact of having that freedom to make choices and connect with the family is empowering.”
Connectivity is a critical digital lifeline for women in crisis as home abuse rates rise during COVID-19. The global crisis has revealed urgent needs among Canada’s at-risk communities, including women and children who may face the reality of being at home with an abusive family member, Rogers said in a statement.
“The isolation needed to respond to COVID-19 made it difficult to communicate, access services or ask for help without a cell phone,” said Mitzi Dean, parliamentary secretary of B.C. for gender equity. “We must do all we can to take care of women and children in crisis and putting the devices in the hands of vulnerable women during the pandemic will help save lives.”
Women who live in offensive houses, or those who know someone who lives in an offensive house, can contact the 24/7 crisis line of their local hospitalization for advice and support. The closest local refuge and its crisis line are located on www.sheltersafe.ca.
In addition, Rogers also collaborates with Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland, an organization aimed at allowing tutoring relationships to ignite the power and potential of young people, to provide donations of devices and tablets with six months of free service to guarantee families and “children” who rely on this critical connection to get the digital tools and service they need.