Police calls for domestic violence, mental crises rise during pandemic

Police calls for domestic violence, mental crises rise during pandemic

Police calls for domestic violence, mental crises rise during pandemic

OTTAWA — New data from some of Canada’s biggest police forces show major COVID-19 lockdowns across much of the country in the spring led to a sharp uptick in calls to police for domestic violence and people in a mental health crisis.

At the same time, police say reports of many other crimes fell, including robbery, assault, sexual assault and impaired driving.

Statistics Canada released the data today using information provided by 17 police forces across Canada between March and June.

During those months, an estimated three million people lost their jobs as restaurants, retail outlets, gyms, movie theatres and tourism businesses were forced to close.

Public safety experts and mental health advocates worried the anxiety and pressure of the pandemic was going to wreak havoc on already stressed families, leading to more domestic violence, child abuse and mental health trauma.

The initial data reported by police appears to bear witness to that, with calls to police for domestic disturbances up 12 per cent, for people in a mental health crisis up 11 per cent and for child welfare checks up almost 19 per cent.

The 17 police forces responded to more than 38,000 calls for domestic disturbances and violence in those four months, an increase of more than 4,000 such calls during the same period in 2019.

At the same time, reports of assaults fell 12 per cent, reports of sexual assaults fell 25 per cent, robbery reports were down 20 per cent, car theft fell 15 per cent and drunk driving reports were down 14 per cent.

The 17 police forces serve almost two-thirds of the Canadian population, and include the RCMP, Ontario Provincial Police, and forces in almost a dozen major urban centres including Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg and Ottawa.

The statistics agency warns the data are incomplete at the moment and do not represent the full picture of police reported crime but do provide a glimpse of crime in some parts of Canada during the most strict period of lockdowns due to COVID-19.

Data on this will continue to be collected until the end of the year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 1, 2020.

The Canadian Press

domestic violence

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Blank Unemployment Benefits form
Red Deer unemployment rate rises to 10.6 per cent

Red Deer’s unemployment rate rose slightly during the month of April. The… Continue reading

Starting Monday, golf courses across the province will be limited to their household or for those who live alone, their two close contacts. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Golf in Alberta limited to household or close contacts starting Monday

Golf courses will have new COVID-19 protocols to follow next week. Starting… Continue reading

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr
MLA Ron Orr pleads with Central Albertans to follow COVID-19 rules

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr is changing his tune on COVID-19. Orr originally… Continue reading

People line up at a COVID-19 vaccination centre, Friday, April 23, 2021 in Deux-Montagnes, Que. Canada's two biggest provinces are continuing to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations as they report lower hospitalization figures.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
COVID-19 rapid tests going to more businesses, Alberta truckers get shots in Montana

Ottawa has introduced new ways for small and medium businesses to get… Continue reading

FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services locked the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mirror on Wednesday morning after owner Christopher Scott refused to comply with health orders. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
UPDATED: AHS shuts down Whistle Stop Cafe for defying health orders

Justice minister promises to get tough with those ignoring public health orders

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks to a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday May 4, 2021. A broad coalition of MPs from all five parties wants the federal government to support waiving the global rules that guard vaccine trade secrets. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
As MPs urge support, Trudeau demurs on whether government backs COVID-19 waiver

WASHINGTON — Justin Trudeau stopped well short Friday of endorsing efforts to… Continue reading

Workers perform ground preparations outside City Hall in Yellowknife on Monday, July 4, 2011. A recent outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Yellowknife is mostly affecting children and youth, the territory’s chief public health officer says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most of Yellowknife’s COVID-19 cases are in children and youth: public health officer

YELLOWKNIFE — A health official in the Northwest Territories says a recent… Continue reading

Statistics Canada building and signs are pictured in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
A year after jobs data leak, StatCan resumes sharing advance numbers with officials

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada has resumed its practice of giving key federal… Continue reading

jobs - T - 3-6-2020
Job search: 10 ways to make your LinkedIn profile stand out in 2021

In 2021 successful job hunting requires having a LinkedIn profile that’s current… Continue reading

Max Parrot of Canada competes in the men’s snowboard big air final at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. Parrot has won the Comeback of the Year honour at the Laureus World Sports Awards. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot wins Laureus World Sports Award for comeback

Parrot beat out former Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith

This Nov. 22, 2015 file photo shows Justin Bieber at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles. Bieber’s world tour is facing another setback as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. The Stratford, Ont.-raised pop singer is pushing dozens of tour dates including stops in three Canadian cities.	THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File
Justin Bieber postpones Canadian summer tour dates until 2022

52-date world tour will now kick off Feb. 18, 2022

Most Read