Let’s break the cycle
As one of Ontario's first shelters for abused women and
children, Gillian’s Place has been providing safe refuge and
non-residential programs that enable women, non binary people,
and their children to break the cycle of violence for over 40 years.
To empower women and their children fleeing abuse by providing safety, support, and a range of services and to raise awareness about root causes to end the cycle of violence and abuse.
We seek a socially just community where all women and children are free from violence and abuse.
Our organizational values inform how Gillian's Place is governed, how our services
are delivered, and how we work together. Put simply, our values shine through in
everything we do. We honour the innate strength of survivors in our actions and
commit to the practice and principles of self-determination.
We are better together. We see our community partners, funders, clients, and each other as allies and our shared work as the only way to achieve lasting impact. We come hospitably to the table with openness and humility.
We act with uncompromising honesty, respect and fairness with the women we serve, with our community and with each other. We welcome questions and we answer sincerely.
We are here for all women and for each woman. Our language and our work is informed by each woman’s context, stage, dignity, and right to self-determination and are more important than our own agendas or thesystems within which we work.
We are here to change things. Regardless of traditional mindsets, power structures and norms, we welcome the challenge of stepping out and speaking up. We work within an intersectional, feminist, and anti-racism/anti-oppression framework and we honour each other’s courage in doing this work.
A small number of staff and volunteers opened Niagara's first safe haven for abused women and children at 9 Salina Street, St. Catharines and began to provide emergency shelter, food and counselling. On the very first day, women and children fleeing violence and abuse filled the 8-bed shelter.
It soon became apparent the Salina Street facilities were insufficient to meet demand, and so, Women's Place built a new shelter in downtown St. Catharines. The three floor, 24-bed facility operated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Our shelter space again was not sufficient for the demand we were experiencing. We needed to expand. Our community and government partners responded strongly to our needs.
A building committee was created when the former Victoria School on Niagara Street was acquired. As a result, the plan to convert an old school into a safe haven became the Rebuilding Lives Restoring Hope Capital Campaign.
Through the generous support of our community, the federal and provincial governments, the vision of converting the school into a safe haven became reality. Women's Place St. Catharines and North Niagara celebrated the official grand opening at the new location on Gibson Place. Our new name is in honour of the former Executive Director Gillian Dooley, who led our organization from 1980 to 2007. Gillian was instrumental in fighting the cycle of violence against women, the effect of her work not only in the community but known nationally.
Gillian’s Place has proudly helped over 50,000 people find access to essential support services, safe shelter and transitional housing. Learn more about our stories by reading our Case Studies.