Combatting domestic abuse in the time of COVID –Women’s shelter creates a secret resource for women trying to escape abuse.

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News Release

For Immediate Release


Combatting domestic abuse in the time of COVID

— help is just an “escape key” away —

June 15, 2020, TORONTO ON – Since the onset of COVID-19, intimate partner violence has increased by over 25 per cent in Canada[1]. Women are effectively trapped in their homes with their abusers, and the isolation has limited their ability to seek help.  Interval House, Canada’s longest-running shelter for women survivors of abuse and their children, has partnered with creative agency UNION, to implement a secret website, and covertly help Canadians in need during this pandemic.

They have created “The Way to Live: A Style Guide for the Modern Woman”. Upon first glance, the site looks and feels like an innocuous beauty and fashion site.  But there’s a twist: hold down the escape key and the site changes to “The Way to Leave: An Escape Plan for the Abused Woman”. Articles about “essentials for everyday life” and “signs your dry skin needs help” seamlessly turn into articles about “essentials when running for your life” and “signs you’re being abused and need help”.

Canadians are being told to stay home and stay safe, but unfortunately staying home is anything but safe for women in abusive relationships. “It’s the perfect storm”, says Fazia Mohammed, Community Programs Manager at Interval House. “Women are more vulnerable to intimate partner violence than ever, and it’s also harder than ever for them to reach out for help. This site is a way to get them the information they need, secretly and safely.”

With her abuser constantly looking over her shoulder, a woman is unable to Google “signs of abuse” or “how to leave an abusive relationship”. This guide is a quick reference to everything she needs to know in order to leave safely, including: signs of abuse, how to pack an emergency bag, tips on disabling GPS tracking, and the Interval House crisis line.

“We know that abusers are constantly monitoring their partners’ online activity, but on the surface, this site looks just like any other lifestyle blog,” says Mohammed. “What the abuser will never realize is that help is just an escape key away.”

For more information:

Media Contact: Tory Crowder, jumpstart communications, 416-998-9702  [email protected]





About Interval House

As the first centre for abused women and children in Canada, Interval House is a leader in the campaign for women’s empowerment, providing innovative, specialized services that help abused women and their children transform their lives and break the cycle of violence. Interval House’s holistic approach provides a continuum of services from crisis intervention to re-integration into the workforce and community, giving women and children the chance to rebuild their lives. For more information please visit




Founded in Toronto by Subtej Nijjar and Lance Martin, UNION is an integrated advertising agency that specializes in manufacturing ideas that help make their clients’ brands more useful to consumers. They create lasting unions between brands and consumers by finding ways to become a welcome, valued part of their lives at precisely the right times. Launched in 2012, UNION is part of the MDC Partners network. UNION

has done work for a range of clients including INFINITI, Mondelez Canada, Kraft Canada, Best Buy, and Canadian Real Estate Association. For more information about UNION, visit



Tory Crowder

Jump Start Communications

416 998 9702

[email protected]

[1] Interval House

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