Violence Against Women

Abrigo Centre’s priority crisis services are available to women and their chil­dren who are experiencing domestic violence. These services include access to police assistance, shelter services and other essential services, ensuring a safety plan is in place and offering supportive counselling. Our Violence Against Women counselling services are offered on an individual and group basis, in both Portuguese and English. The focus in counselling is to help women develop their strengths and their well being.  Women are supported in their efforts to achieve their personal goals. We assist with many of the emotional and physical needs and institutional challenges faced by women and children who experience family violence. Information and access to essential servic­es such as food, shelter, medical services, the legal and judicial system are provided. Sensitizing the community to the issue of family violence is a pri­ority as well. Through the provision of community based presentations we move towards the vision of one day seeing a community free of violence and abuse.

Click here to learn how to create a Safety Plan


Si vous ou une personne que vous connaissez êtes victime de violence:

Les femmes francophones peuvent obtenir des services de counseling en situation de crise et être dirigées vers les centres d'hébergement 24 heures sur 24, 7 jours sur 7, au numéro sans frais suivant:



Ce numero vous mettra en contact automatiquement avec la ligne-secours régionale la plus proche.  Le service est anonyme et confidential.  Vous n'avez pas à vous identifier.

Pour les services d'hébergement d'urgence s'il vous plaît contacter La Maison - 647-777-6733

Des services d'appui transitoire et de logement s'il vous plaît contacter Oasis des femmes centre 416--591-6565 poste. 231. Pour VFF Counselling Services appeler le poste. 226.


French-language services:

Francophone or French-speaking women can get crisis counselling and referral services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling this toll free number:



This toll free number will automatically connect you with the closest regional crisis line.  The service is anonymous and confidential.  You do not have to give your name.

For Emergency Shelter Services please contact La Maison - 647-777-6733

For Transitional and Housing Support Services please contact Oasis centre des femmes 416--591-6565 ext. 231. For VAW Counselling Services call ext. 226.


  • Frequently Asked Questions

    I am tired. My husband has not changed in all the years we have been married. He has gotten worse, the abuse has gotten worse. Now our children are grown and left the home and we have retired. I just want peace and rest but he has not stopped. What
    A counsellor is there to help clients sort through their feelings and problem-solve in a way that is helpful to the client. The counsellor is not there to tell clients what to do. A counsellor will not tell you to leave your partner. The counsellor will help you figure out what you want to do with your life and help you figure out how to handle your problems your way.
    I am unhappy with my marital situation and would like to talk to somebody but I do not want to leave my partner what should I do?
    A counsellor is there to help clients sort through their feelings and problem solve in a way that is helpful to the client. The counsellor is not there to tell clients what to do. A counsellor will not tell you to leave your partner. The counsellor will help you figure out what you want to do with your life and help you figure out how to handle your problems your way.
    I do not have legal immigration status in the country. I do not like it when my partner and I are fighting. He has hit me in the past. I am afraid. If I call the police will I be deported?
    If someone calls the police and they request a person’s immigration status, the police officer is not obligated to inform Immigration. A person who is not in status always runs the risk that Immigration will find them or receive information that they are not in status. Consult with a lawyer to find out the options available to you.
    I do not speak English very well. I do not know where to get help. What can I do the next time he starts beating me or calling me names?
    Many services are available in different languages. At Abrigo Centre we are able to help you in English or Portuguese. The information line for Toronto, dial 211, can refer you to an agency that speaks your language. If you are being abused, you can call 911 and speak the name of your language and an interpreter will be connected to you in less than 60 seconds. The Assaulted Women’s Helpline of Ontario 1-888, in Toronto, 416-863-0511, is available 24 hours a day to information and support in several languages.
    I left home with my children. Does my partner and father of our children have to support me and our children?
    When you separate there are many decisions to be made. Usually the person with the higher income will be required to pay support. To understand your legal rights you should speak to a lawyer. Ontario has laws to protect you and your child from violence. A lawyer can explain restraining orders, separation, custody, access, child and spousal support and division of assets.
    My husband is a good man. Sometimes he drinks. When he drinks too much, he gets angry and we have fights. How can I help him to stop drinking?
    Information and programs are available to help people who want to stop drinking. The person can contact their doctor, community agency or go to hospital. If the person wants to change their behaviour, only they have the power to do so. If a person does not want to enter a program we do not have the power to force them. Drinking may be a symptom of a different problem.
    My husband sponsored me to come to Canada and I have the Permanent Resident Card. Can he take away my Permanent Resident card or call Immigration and have me deported?
    No he cannot. Once you obtain permanent residency status no one can hold your card or remove your status. Citizenship and Immigration will only revoke permanent resident status if the status was obtained with false information.
    We are having difficulties with our teenage children. We don’t know how to speak with them anymore. Could you help us?
    We would be happy to meet with parents with or without their children to assist them through difficult child rearing years. Various issues impact on children’s lives and every child is different. It is important that parents receive support and that they receive useful information on the various stages that their children go through in order to help them be the best parents that they can be.
    My husband tells me that if I try to leave then I will have no rights to my house. Is it true that I will lose everything that I have been working to pay for all of these years?
    No it is not true. In any marital separation it does not matter who leaves the relationship or the matrimonial home, unless there is a prenuptial agreement, both partners have equal rights to property and assets that belonged to the marriage or couple.
    What does confidentiality mean?
    Confidentiality means that counsellors do not discuss the conversations you have with them without your written consent. From time to time it is in your best interest that the counsellor speaks with someone like another professional to help you reach your goals. A counsellor will always ask your permission verbally and in writing before doing this.
    There are some limits to confidentiality. If a child under the age of 16 years is being physically or sexually hurt by someone, we are obligated by law to report this information with or without your consent. Whether you are under or over 16 years of age if we believe that you are going to hurt yourself or someone else we also need to get you help and will do this with or without your consent.
    We will always try to communicate with you first when we need to break confidentiality. You need to understand that it is very important to us to ensure our client’s safety and well-being and that whenever we need to break confidentiality we do it with these objectives in mind.
    What is abuse anyway?
    No one has the right to abuse another person.

    Abuse can include verbal, emotional, financial, spiritual, psychological, physical or stalking.

    Below are examples of abusive behaviours.

    Verbal abuse includes insults, shouting, swearing and put-downs.Emotional & Psychological Abuse includes when someone threats to hurt you or kill you or to hurt those you care about such as your children, your family or your pets. It also includes threats to take the children away and threats to commit suicide. Emotional and psychological abuse aims to induce fear, intimidation. When a partner is accusatory of false things and is excessively suspicious overly jealous of their partner, not allowing their partner to see their family and friends and undermining her self-esteem they are emotionally and psychologically abusive.

    Financial abuse includes controlling the family finances and not sharing information such as how much income the couple has where money is kept and how much money or assets exists.

    Spiritual Abuse includes degrading another person’s spiritual beliefs, not allowing them to practice or forcing them to adhere to another belief system.Sexual assault includes any act or sexual behaviour that is unwanted. A husband does not have the right to force any sexual act on his wife.

    Physical Abuse includes slapping, hitting, pinching, punching, pushing, shoving, hair-pulling, beating, torture, stabbing,assault with a weapon.

    Stalking or Criminal Harassment: includes persistently following someone, harassing telephone calls, and threatening someone.
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