3. Find the support you may need
Shelters for abused women offer many kinds of support. Counsellors can provide emotional support as well as work with you to make a safety plan.
Shelter staff are trained to find resources and support for people who've experienced abuse. They can help you with issues like housing, child care, and Ontario Works, sometimes called welfare. They can connect you with different services, speak to other agencies for you, and provide you with a support letter.
Besides shelters, you can also contact your local Family Service Agency for support. These agencies offer individual and family counseling. Some agencies also offer other services, such as helping you create a plan to pay off and manage debt or group programs for people getting separated or divorced. Fees are based on how much you can pay.
The following organizations focus on helping people who've been abused:
- The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic helps women who've experienced physical, sexual, or psychological abuse. The Clinic's services include:
- representing women in family and immigration court for free
- interpreter services in more than 90 languages
- summary legal advice
- supporting positive change in criminal law
The Clinic accepts collect calls and can be reached at 416-323-9140 or 416-323-1361 (TTY).
- The Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres is a network of 20 community-based rape crisis centres across the province that offer counseling and referrals to people who have experienced sexual abuse.
- The Ontario Network of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres has centres in 35 hospitals across Ontario that provide emergency care to women, children, and men who have been sexually assaulted or have experienced partner abuse. Its services include emergency medical and nursing care, helping in a crisis situation, collecting physical evidence for courts, medical follow-up, and counseling. The Network can be reached at 416 323-7327.
Luke’s Place works to improve the safety and experience of abused women in Durham Region who are or may become involved with the family law system. They can also help women find family law services elsewhere in the province. Luke’s place can be reached at 905-728-0978 or 1-866-516-3116.
There is emergency, 24-hour a day telephone support available.
These helplines offer emotional support and can refer you to community services for people who’ve experienced abuse over the telephone. Their services are available free of charge. You can call:
- the distress line in your region
- The Assaulted Women’s Helpline: : 1-800-863-0511. Help is available in English and translators are available by phone in many other languages
- Fem'aide: If you speak French, call 1-877-336-2433
- Talk4Healing: If you are an Indigenous woman living in Northern Ontario and speak English, Ojibway, Oji-Cree, or Cree, call 1-855-554-4325
- Ganohkwasra Family Assault Support Services: If you are part of the Six Nations of the Grand River community, call 519-445-4324