Frequently Asked Questions
"Do I have to pay?"
"How do I access the shelter?"
"What if I don't have transportation?"
"How long can I stay?"
"Can I have visitors?"
"Is it wheelchair accessible?"
"Will I have a private room?"
"What can I bring with me?"
"What can't I bring with me?"
"I'm concerned about COVID, will I be safe in the shelter"
We take every precaution necessary to ensure that you are safe from COVID during your stay; including screening prior to entry, rapid testing, additional cleaning / sanitization, mandatory masking.
"What if I have a pet"
Sexual abuse can take many forms. Sexual abuse is generally about control rather than pleasure. You are experiencing sexual abuse if you have been coerced into having sex, forced, or pressured to perform uncomfortable sexual acts.
Emotional abuse Often emotionally abused women are not sure if what is happening to them is domestic violence. When your partner frightens or demeans you enough that it affects your everyday function then you are more than likely experiencing abuse. Emotional abuse can be very damaging and will often lead to physical violence.
Economic abuse can include taking full control of a person’s money, not “allowing” a person to work outside of the home, putting all assets or bills in their name or keeping close track of every penny spent. If you do not have full say in what happens to your money, then you are quite likely experiencing economic abuse.
Physical abuse can range from a shove to a black eye or broken bones and in many cases, it does not leave any visible marks. All violence should be taken seriously because it usually gets worse.
What Is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a term where an individual makes another person doubt themselves, their recollection of events, and undermines or dismisses their feelings/instincts. Victims of this type of psychological abuse often describe feeling “crazy” or “insane”.
Gaslighting generally leads to a lack of self-esteem and mistrust in one’s feelings and instincts. Individuals exposed to this type of abuse often feel less intelligent and less capable than their abuser. Although this type of abuse can happen between partners, it is also found in all types of interpersonal connections including parent-child and workplace relationships.
Some examples of this behaviour are: “You can’t be hungry, you just ate – invalidating feelings and making the other feel self-conscious “I only did it because I love you – claiming the abuser knows more that the individual “I am not cheating; you are just paranoid – deflecting blame and invalidating feelings/instinct “No one will love you but me (or like me) – isolating the individual and creating dependence “You are too sensitive – invalidating feelings and diminishing self-worth “You made me do this – deflecting blame and punishing the individual through silent treatments or angry outbursts or a combination of the two for something that is not their fault.
Violence is a Crime. Always call 911 in an emergency.
How to Help a Friend
offers a place of safety and support to women and their children who are unable to remain in their homes due to violence.
How to Identify a Person in an Abusive Relationship
- The person will likely be anxious and/or depressed. This could be demonstrated through behaviour such as sleeping a lot or hardly at all, not participating in activities that they once enjoyed (withdrawn) and gaining or losing weight.
- The person may use unhealthy behaviours to deal with relationship stress, such as increased substance abuse.
- You may notice unexplained injuries which may be visible or be demonstrated through behaviour, such as limping, favouring one side, or something subtle such as wearing clothing that seems inappropriate for the temperature.
- They may no longer or less frequently visit with friends and family in person or by phone/text.
- The individual will make excuses for their partner’s behaviour.
- The person may appear to be controlled by their partner. For example, what they wear, where they go, who they talk to, how much money they can access, or if and where they work.
- If you recognize some or all of these traits in someone you care about, it is important not to jump to conclusions and speak with this individual in a calm, non-judgmental manner about your observations and concerns. Make it clear that you will believe them and support them. It is important that you allow for space to let them make their own decisions.
Clare’s Law, known officially as a Domestic Violence Disclosure law, designates several ways for police officers to disclose a person’s history of abusive behaviour to those who may be at risk from such behaviour. It is intended to reduce intimate partner violence.
Explaining the Interpersonal Violence Disclosure Protocol
The most dangerous time for a woman in an abusive relationship is after she leaves.
Consider the following if you are thinking about leaving an abusive relationship:
- Pack an Emergency Bag with copies of important documents, ID’s, medical records, divorce papers, custody documentation, court orders, restraining orders, a photo of family members including the abuser, extra clothing, house key, car key, money and keep it in a safe place.
- Think about a backup plan in case your abuser comes home while you are leaving.
- Hide evidence of leaving as you prepare.
- Plan an escape route.
- Hide all sharp or dangerous objects in case he suspects that you are leaving.
- Do not tell your children that you are leaving until it is safe to do so.
Tell trusted friends, family, or neighbours about the violence and give them your full address.
- Set up a code word with people that you trust. When you text them or say your code word, they will know to call the police right away.
- Exit your home through the back in case your abuser shows up while you are leaving.
- Be careful about how much personal information you share on social media, especially if you have left a violent relationship.
- Call an emergency shelter near you and let them know that you plan to leave. Shelter workers are able to provide support and / or information to help with your escape plan even if you do not intend on staying at a women’s shelter. If you are concerned about privacy, be assured that information you share is confidential.
myPlan Canada is a free app to help you with your safety and well-being if you have experienced abuse from current or past spouse, partner, boy/girlfriend. It’s private, secure, personalized, & backed by research.