Counselling and support for women

Women’s Shelters

Women’s shelters provide counselling services. Most offer both one-to-one and group counselling for residents, with follow-up support for ex-residents. Women’s Shelters also have Transitional Support Programs that assist ex-residents and non-residents in the community to identify and connect with the kinds of support and services required to establish violence and abuse-free lives for themselves and their children.

To find your local Women’s Shelter check Shelter Safe or call the Assaulted Women’s Helpline at 1-866-863-0511 / 1-866-863-7868 (TTY).

Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care and Treatment Centres

Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Centres provide 24-hour emergency medical and nursing care to women, men and children who have recently been victims of sexual assault and/or domestic violence. Services include testing for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, administration of the evidence kit, medical follow-up, crisis intervention for immediate emotional support, and referrals to appropriate community-based agencies.

Find a Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Centre near you.

Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centres

Sexual violence is often part of the domestic violence women experience. Sexual Assault and Rape Crisis Centres offer a wide variety of services to victims and survivors of sexual violence. 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.

To find your local Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centre call the Assaulted Women’s Helpline at 1-866-863-0511/1-866-863-7868 (TTY) or check The Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres online.

Community Counselling Agencies

Many communities will have a Family Service Agency that offers inexpensive individual and group counselling services. Some communities will have other community based counselling services that can provide free or inexpensive counselling as well.

To find out what community counselling services are available locally, contact the Assaulted Women’s Helpline at 1-866-863-0511/1-866-863-7868 (TTY).

Health Units

Public Health Units have a Healthy Babies, Health Children program that may be helpful for women with children who have experienced abuse. Family home visitors can help moms and dads who qualify for the Healthy Babies Healthy Children Program to access community resources, provide information about basic parenting, and give emotional support to women who are pregnant and to families with children up to six years of age.

A Family Home Visitor will work with a woman to help her identify goals based on her needs and her family’s needs.

Find the Public Health Unit near you online.

Victim/Witness Assistance Programs

If charges have been laid against your employee’s partner or ex-partner, she can receive help from the Victim/Witness Assistance Program. Police or Crown attorneys refer victims and witnesses to the program. It is offered free of charge in all 54 Ontario court districts. Victim/Witness Assistance Program staff will help your employee understand how the court system works, keep her informed of court dates and explain courtroom procedures. But the staff is not able to discuss evidence with victims and witnesses.

To find the office nearest you visit the ministry of the Attorney General’s website www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca or call the Victim Support Line at 1 (888) 579–2888.

Family Law Information

Family Law Information Centres assist individual clients, particularly those who are not represented by a lawyer and are entering the court system for the first time. They have been established in most courts that deal with family law matters. Please contact your local court for details of available services. See the listing of FLIC offices throughout Ontario.

Services for Newcomers

If your employee is new to Canada, she may need help to adjust to her new life in Canada as well as help to address domestic violence. Settlement agencies provide services to newcomers to Canada. Settlement agencies are sometimes called immigrant-serving agencies, refugee-serving agencies, or newcomer services. Many settlement agencies have services in many languages and culturally-sensitive services. These services are often free. They are always confidential. You can find the settlement services in your area online.