November is Woman Abuse Prevention Month
Services for Women Experiencing Violence
Communities across Ontario offer services to women of all ages who have experienced, live with, or are in fear of violence. All of these services are free and confidential.
Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes offers a list of French-language and bilingual services throughout the province.
Assaulted Women’s Helpline
This confidential, 24-hour province-wide helpline offers crisis counselling, emotional support, safety planning, and referrals for women needing a shelter, legal advice or other supports. This service is free and is available in over 100 different languages including 17 Aboriginal languages.
Femaide: Crisis Line for Women who are Victims of Violence
1-877-FEMAIDE or 1-877-336-2433 (toll-free)
This confidential, 24-hour province-wide crisis and support number automatically connects the caller to a crisis line for French-speaking women who are victims of violence. It offers emotional support, safety planning and referrals for women who need shelter, counseling or other support. Calls are directed in priority sequence to one of the three regional lines in the province.
Violence Against Women Shelters
Find a women’s shelter for emergency housing and food. Shelters also provide counselling, support and referrals. Ontario 211 has a list of domestic violence women’s shelters.
Sexual Assault and Rape Crisis Centres
Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centres offer a wide variety of services to victims and survivors of sexual violence, 16 years and over. Services include a 24-hour anonymous crisis/support telephone line, individual and group counselling, court, police and hospital accompaniment, information on the legal system, and community referrals. Francophone services are available in designated areas.
The Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres provides information on the location and contact information of centres across the province.
Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Centres
A network of hospital-based Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres provides 24/7 emergency care to women, children and men who have been sexually assaulted or who are victims or survivors of domestic violence. Services include emergency medical and nursing care, crisis intervention, collection of forensic evidence, medical follow-up and counselling and referral to community resources.
The Ontario Network of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres provides more information on these services and the location and contact information of centres across the province.
Other Services for Victims of Crime
Services provided by the Ministry of Attorney General
The Ministry of Attorney General provides information on programs and services for victims of crime, including:
- The Victim Support Line is a free, province-wide information line that provides a range of services to victims of crime. Victims may speak directly with an information and referral counsellor at Findhelp, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, about supports and services that are available in their community;
- The Victim Witness Assistance Program, a court-based program, provides services to victims and witnesses by offering emotional support, court preparation, and referrals to counselling and other services;
- The Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Services network is a community response program providing immediate, on-site assistance to victims of crime 24 hours a day, seven days a week;
- The Victim Quick Response Program provides eligible victims with immediate assistance for emergency expenses, counselling services and funeral expenses. In most locations, Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Services administer the program;
- The SupportLink Program provides victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking with intensive safety planning and 911-programmed cell phones, in 20 Ontario locations.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Board
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, an independent agency of the Ministry of Attorney General, provides victims of crime the financial means to overcome the hardship they experience as a result of their victimization. The Board assesses financial compensation for victims of violent crime committed in Ontario who qualify under the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act.
Creating a Safety Plan
A safety plan helps women experiencing abuse reduce the risk of further violence to themselves and their children. It involves identifying steps to increase one’s safety and to prepare for the possibility of further violence.
Information and advice on safety planning is available through:
- Safety Planning for Women Who are Abused (Neighbours, Friends and Families campaign)
- Creating a Safety Plan (Peel Committee Against Woman Abuse)
In addition to creating safety plan, there are other options for women to increase their safety if they are being threatened by a partner or ex-partner and/or are being stalked. If a woman is fearful that her spouse or partner or former spouse or partner will hurt her or her children, she can apply for a restraining order at a family court. The Ministry of Attorney General provides information on applying for a restraining order.
Safety for Pets
The SafePet Program, run by the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, is dedicated to providing temporary housing and care for the pets of women who wish to leave an abusive partner. For more information, view the SafePet brochure.