Officials with Sunrise House Youth Emergency Shelter in Grande Prairie say they’re concerned that the number of reports made to their service have declined over the last couple of months.
Executive Director Tanya Wald says they know the issues surrounding child abuse haven’t gone away, and are worried that those who may be in desperate need for help are unable to get it due to months of restrictions because of COVID-19.
“That is a concern for us, that there are youth who need to access us and for whatever reason maybe they feel like they can’t safely leave their home because they’re never by themselves.”
Wald says the hope is, once restrictions begin to lift, the access for those in need should become easier. She says a number of channels for safe reporting could also soon be made available.
“A lot of our reporting does happen through the schools; we have schools, counsellors and even just family friends who will call. Those connections have really had an impact.”
Sunrise House is the only dedicated youth shelter in Grande Prairie and relies heavily on donations throughout the year to continue running operations at current levels.