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Safely connecting women in crisis with digital lifelines across Alberta, the Prairies and Atlantic Canada

May 18, 2021

Articles

At women’s shelters and transition houses across Canada, frontline crisis workers have reported an increase in frequency and severity of violence and abuse. To help keep women in crisis stay safely connected to critical supports, Rogers is providing thousands of phones and plans as digital lifelines to more than 325 shelters and transition houses across Canada, including 30 in both Alberta and Atlantic Canada, and 25 in the Prairies.

The phone donation program, in partnership with Women’s Shelters Canada, first launched at the start of the pandemic last spring, with hundreds of phones being donated. Now into the third wave of the pandemic, Rogers recently announced it had tripled its support to hundreds of new shelters, including those that support Indigenous women, in collaboration with Motorola and LG.

Rogers is proud to expand the program in Alberta, the Prairies and Atlantic Canada in partnership with provincial shelter and transition house associations.  Program expansions in British Columbia and Ontario were announced last month.

Quotes:

“We have simultaneously been enduring two pandemics, COVID-19 and the abuse against women- the shadow pandemic. Women and their children fleeing abuse need support more than ever, and a phone and a plan can be that lifeline to safety. Thank you to Rogers for expanding their program and for highlighting the need for safe connectivity for women in crisis. Together we can amplify the voices of those most in need of shelter services and supports, provide a lifeline, and work to end the shadow pandemic.”

  • Jan Reimer, Executive Director, Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters

“MAWS and Manitoba shelters thanks Rogers for this generous and much-needed program. COVID-19 has highlighted that staying at home may not be the safest option for all, and that women, youth and children across Canada are facing an ongoing, exacerbated ‘shadow pandemic’ of gender-based violence. At this time, secure, affordable digital connectivity can provide Manitobans affected by abuse with a safety measure, as well as a sense of independence, especially in cases where they and their communications are being monitored and controlled by their abusers. It is more important than ever that those experiencing violence have barrier-free access to safe, affordable infrastructure – including cell phones and data plans – that will help them stay connected to loved ones, shelter teams, supportive services and emergency resources.”

  • Deena Brock, Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters

“We are grateful to Rogers Communications for supporting survivors of violence through the provision of cell phones to domestic violence shelters in Saskatchewan. Cell phones can be a literal lifeline for someone fleeing a violent situation. In addition to allowing a survivor the means to call 911 in an emergency, cell phones also allow them to remain in contact with family and friends, to look for new housing, to apply for jobs, and connect with needed services such as medical, legal or counseling appointments.”

  • Jo-Anne Dusel, Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan

“To women leaving abusive relationships, these phones represent connection. A connection to family and friends they may have been cut off from, a chance to call a potential landlord, an opportunity to reconnect with the shelter they have left, a desperate call to the police, or a reconnection to their own goals and dreams. These connections are lost in a controlling and abusive relationship.  If you’ve been controlled and likely not able to reach out for help and support, having a phone after you leave can represent growth towards the life you need to be healthy.”

  • Debrah Westerburg, NB South Central Transition House and Second Stage Coalition

“The member organizations of the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia are pleased to deliver Roger’s phones to women who are vulnerable to violence. In an unsafe home, anything can be used as an instrument of control and abuse, and for women in this terrible situation, having their own phone is vital to be able to reach out for support safely. We appreciate this generous gesture for victims of abuse and the non-profit organizations who serve them, and trust it signals the start of a deeper sustained relationship with these organizations and the life-saving work they do.”

  • Shiva Nourpanah, Transition House Association of Nova Scotia

“These phones are very valuable for us.  Most people are under the mistaken impression that everyone has a phone these days and the means to pay for a plan.  These donations mean that we have the ability to equip a woman in crisis, who would otherwise live in isolation, with the means to reach out for emergency and support services when they need to.”

  • Danya O’Malley, PEI Family Violence Prevention Services

“These devices empower women to connect with safety and essential services that otherwise they may not have access to. A cell phone is a literal lifeline when used in a moment of crisis”

  • Dan Meades, Transition House Association of Newfoundland

“As we enter a third wave of the pandemic, many Indigenous women living in remote communities are facing increased challenges in escaping violence and abuse. Providing these women with a new phone when they arrive at our shelters will prove to be a valuable tool in keeping them safely connected to family and friends, as well as vital services. Rogers’ expanded ‘digital lifeline’ program and planned network expansion are sure to benefit many Indigenous women and children seeking refuge in our shelters.”

  • Sheila Swasson, President, National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence