KITCHENER -- Periods of crisis can be the most dangerous time for domestic violence situations and with the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing thousands to stay at home, it may not be safe for some people.

Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region says stress levels are increasing due to the virus and people being laid-off at work. They say this can lead to ongoing domestic violence.

Family and Children Services of Waterloo Region say they work with around 1000 families at any point in time and around 27 per cent of concerns include domestic violence with children.

“When they are at home all together, that can increase the risk for them,” says Jennifer Hutton with the Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region.

Waterloo Regional Police could not say if there’s been an increase in domestic violence calls.

“Although we have altered the delivery of some of our services, our members continue to work tirelessly to provide service with as little disruption as possible,” said Cst. Andre Johnson of WRPS in a statement.

They went on to say they will continue to monitor the situation and adjust their resources accordingly.

“I am thinking we will see more of an increase in the next week or two,” Hutton says.

She goes on to say it is important for family and friends to continue reaching out and to watch for clues like threats, bullying and withholding finances.

Women shelters remain open and phone lines are available 24 hours a day.

Anyone experiencing domestic violence who is preparing an escape plan should work with a professional because that is when they are most at risk.