More than 360 ribbons can be found on the tree outside of Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society on Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

More than 360 ribbons can be found on the tree outside of Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society on Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

Purple ribbons mark rise in domestic violence in Port Alberni

This year, there are more than 360 ribbons on the tree

Hundreds of purple ribbons adorn the tree outside of Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society (ACAWS) in Uptown Port Alberni, marking a rise in domestic violence since the COVID-19 pandemic began earlier this year.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is a global campaign that starts on Nov. 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and ends Dec. 10 (World Human Rights Day). Each year, ACAWS marks the occasion by putting up purple ribbons. Each ribbon represents a reported incident of violence against youth or women in the Alberni Valley over the past year.

This year, there are more than 360 ribbons on the tree.

“It’s horrible,” said ACAWS executive director Ellen Frood. “But at least it’s representative of that fact that women are feeling comfortable coming forward and reporting.”

Domestic violence has been on the rise in Port Alberni since the pandemic was declared in March. According to the Port Alberni RCMP, domestic violence calls were up by 100 percent in the second quarter of the year (April to June) and the third quarter (July to September).

Frood says the pandemic has had a direct impact on these numbers.

“Sadly, an abuser will often try and isolate the partner,” said Frood. “Now we have the provincial health officer telling people to stay at home. Call it a perfect storm, if you will.”

Although the first couple months of the pandemic were “fairly quiet” at ACAWS, Frood said most programs are now fully booked, and victim services is seeing “a large number” of domestic violence files moving through the court system. Most ACAWS staff are working remotely, using phones and computers to offer support services and counselling.

“We’re like everybody in the community right now,” said Frood. “We’ve had to become very innovative in how we offer our services. But we haven’t stopped at any time.”

The Transition House run by ACAWS remains open 24/7 for women who are experiencing domestic abuse and their children. Women who do not feel safe making a phone call can text 250-206-1011 to reach out to the Transition House.

According to Frood, the purple ribbon campaign is a way to raise awareness for the community and to let people know that there is a safe place available for women and children who have been affected by domestic violence.

“Everyone deserves to live, to work, to study in a safe environment,” said Frood. “Really, this is about awareness. We all have a role to play in creating safe spaces.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

domestic violencePort Alberni

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

Just Posted

West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni received some good news about an expansion to its emergency department on Jan. 15, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
B.C. health ministry commits $6.25M to hospital expansion in Port Alberni

Plans for larger emergency department have been on hold since 2015

A Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation guardian took this photo of dozens of vehicles parked along a forest service road in the Kennedy watershed. (Submitted photo)
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District looks at enforcement of illegal camping

ACRD currently does not have an existing bylaw service to tackle the issue

Randy Brown, owner of Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue, has five trailers and a motorhome at the back of his property that he is renting to people who had been previously homeless. He wants to put 15 trailers on his property, hooked up to city sewer and water and BC Hydro. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Building owner digs in heels, refuses to remove illegal trailers from property

Port Alberni council gives owner two-week reprieve on remediation orders

A photo of the excavated area at McLean Mill at the end of the rail line, taken on Dec. 16, 2020. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
No environmental risk from oil spill at McLean Mill, says consultant

Terrawest Environmental concludes ‘end of spill’ report at national historic site

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

A still from surveillance footage showing a confrontation in the entranceway at Dolly’s Gym on Nicol Street on Friday morning. (Image submitted)
Troublemaker in Nanaimo fails at fraud attempt, slams door on business owner’s foot

VIDEO: Suspect causes pain and damage in incident downtown Friday morning

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Most Read