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You can 'bolt' over to this Tri-Cities MP's office if your safety is at risk

Bonita Zarrillo's Coquitlam office is one of 19 spaces where partner violence victims can seek refuge and access resources.

The B.C. government says intimate partner violence is the most common kind women experience at least once in their lifetime.

And many may not have a place to go to feel safe.

Port Moody—Coquitlam MP Bonita Zarrillo recently opened up her office in partnership with a B.C. youth-led organization that aims to provide temporary refuge for victims of physical and sexual violence.

Zarrillo's constituency office in Coquitlam — located at 1116 Austin Ave. — is now one of 19 locations across the Lower Mainland where "wellness kits" are offered to anyone looking for access to resources in a time of crisis.

The kits, which consist of Band-aids, protein bars and hygiene supplies, are put together by the BOLT Safety Society and distributed among its network. Menstrual products are also contributed by fellow youth-led non-profit For The Menstruator.

Zarrillo's office is the first in the Tri-Cities for the federally registered non-profit.

"I am grateful to everyone at BOLT Safety for their tireless work," she said in a release sent to the Tri-City News.

A formal grand opening of the safe hub took place last Saturday (March 4).

Representatives from Tri-City Transitions, the Port Moody Police Department's (PMPD) victim services section and the Austin Heights Business Improvement Association (BIA) were also in attendance.

BOLT Safety executive director Vedanshi Vala added that Zarrillo is the first politician to add her local office to the initiative, and hopes it can potentially inspire others to do the same.

"In essence, Safe Hubs are meant to be safe spaces where anyone whose personal safety is threatened can seek temporary refuge and have the mental and physical space needed to safely plan their next steps, be it calling the police, a crisis line, a shelter or even accessing survivor-centric resources on BOLT Safety’s digital platform."

According to UN Women, one in three women around the world have experienced intimate partner violence.

The BOLT Safety Society's Safe Hub map has been accessed more than 2,900 times since being published in November 2022.

For more information or to join the network, you can visit the organization's website.