Critical Social Policy
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COVID-19 illustrated what governments can do to mobilise against a global threat. Despite the strong governmental response to COVID-19 in Canada, another ‘pandemic’, gender-based violence (GBV), has been causing grave harm with generally insufficient policy responses. Using interpretive description methodology, 26 interviews were conducted with shelter staff and 5 focus groups with 24 executive directors (EDs) from GBV service organizations in Ontario, Canada. Five main themes were identified and explored, namely that: (1) there are in fact four pandemics at play; (2) the interplay of pandemics amplified existing systemic weaknesses; (3) the key role of informal partnerships and community support, (4) temporary changes in patterns of funding allocation; and (5) exhaustion as a consequence of addressing multiple and concurrent pandemics. Implications and recommendations for researchers, policy makers, and the GBV sector are discussed.