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 individuals,
and their children to break the cycle of violence for over 40 years.
Gillian's Place is much more than a safe shelter. Our team provides confidential and compassionate counselling, legal advice, and transitional support to women, children, Two-Spirit, genderqueer, trans and non-binary people facing gendered violence in our community. We desire to offer services and spaces where all survivors can come without reservation, knowing they will be welcomed, respected, and provided with hope, support, and choices.
To work with and empower people experiencing gender-based violence by providing safety and support through a variety of programs and services, and raising awareness about the root causes to end the cycle of violence and abuse.
We strive to be a socially just and equitable community where all are free from gender-based violence.
Our organizational values inform how Gillian's Place is governed, how our services
are delivered, and how we work together. Simply said, our values permeate everything we do. We honour the innate strength of survivors in everything that we do 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're here for all survivors and for each survivor. Our language and our work are informed by each survivor's context, stage, dignity, and right to self-determination and are more important than our own agendas or the systems 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.
Today, Gillian's Place is proud to be more than safe shelter. Gillian's Place offers a variety of compassionate, secure, and practical support services for you, your loved ones and allies. Their team provides confidential, over-the-phone, and in-person services such as outreach counselling, legal advice, transitional housing, safety resources, and much more for women, children, and LGBTQIA2S+ individuals.