Important Resources & Information
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Call or text our 24/7 Support Line: 905.684.8331
Centre de santé cummunautaire: 24/7 Service en francais: 1.877.336.2433
Chat with our experienced support team today.
Resources for Women & LGBTQQIA2S+ Individuals experiencing Gender-based Violence
Centre de santé cummunautaireFrancophone services for women who have or are experiencing abuse.
Birchway Niagaraprovides emergency shelter and support services to women who have experienced abuse in South Niagara.
Niagara Sexual Assault Centre24-hour crisis and information line for recent victims of sexual violence.
Design for a New TomorrowCounselling for women who have experienced abuse.
YWCA Niagaraprovides shelter, food and assistance to women experiencing poverty.
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario) is a community legal clinic dedicated to providing low-income and disadvantaged people in Ontario with the legal information they need to understand and exercise their legal rights. Materials cover many areas of law, including social assistance, tenants' rights, immigration and refugee law, workers' rights, family law, elder abuse and youth justice.
Regional Municipality of NiagaraAccess to Niagara’s A to Z health services including Sexual health, Dental Clinics, School and Workplace Safety, Infectious Disease and Healthy Lifestyles.
Information NiagaraInformation on Community Resources Available for Women and Children within Niagara.
Family and Children’s Servicesis the local Children’s Aid Society. FACS offers a wide range of programs to prevent and treat the problems of abuse and neglect and to support the children, youth and families of our community.
Positive Living Niagara Staff and volunteers alike provide support, education, and advocacy in a safe and confidential environment for HIV-positive individuals, their families, and their friends.
Community Addiction Services of Niagaraprovides ongoing support in a number of programs available to people struggling with their own substance use or gambling behaviour. Services include individual counselling, our 4-week Day Treatment Program, referral to residential treatment, and the Addiction Supportive Housing (ASH) program.
Resources for Teenagers experiencing Gender-based Violence
Are you wondering if your relationship dynamics are normal? Do you often wonder if your partner’s behaviour towards you is hostile or inappropriate? Are you concerned with the way your partner treats you? If you are unsure whether you are in an unhealthy relationship, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your partner pressure you to make the relationship very serious or have sex early in the relationship?
- Act jealous or possessive?
- Try to control where you go, what you wear or what you do?
- Text or instant message you constantly?
- Refuse to consider your point of view or desires?
- Keep you from talking to or spending time with close friends or family?
- Drink too much or use drugs and then blame the alcohol and drugs for their behaviour?
- Threaten to hurt you or themselves if you break up with them?
Teen dating abuse is not an argument every once in a while, or a bad mood after a bad day.
IT IS: a pattern of controlling and abusive behaviour
IT CAN: be verbal and emotional abuse
IT CAN: cause injury or even death
If you are still unsure if your relationship is abusive and would like advice, please contact us immediately and we will be able to assist you. Our support line is open 24 hours every day.
- Frightened by a partner's irritability, jealousy or anger?
- Intimidated or humiliated in public or private, by insults, criticism or vulgar comments?
- Forced to have sex when you don't want to?
- Refused access to money for your needs?
- Concerned for your safety or the safety of other family members, or pets?
- Distressed about being abused in the past?
- Physically hurt by your intimate partner?
- Intimidated, bullied or harassed through email, text or social media?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, your relationship may be abusive.
Resources for Children exposed to Gender-based Violence
Contact Niagaraprovides information and access to services for children experiencing emotional and/or behavioural difficulty.
Kids Help Phoneis a free, anonymous, confidential phone and web counselling service for young people of all ages.
Pathstone Mental Healthis a counselling clinic that provides world class mental health services for children.
Resources for Friends and Family
Neighbours, Friends and Familiesis a public education campaign to raise awareness of the signs of woman abuse so that those close to an at-risk woman or an abusive man can help. This site will also provide links to the aboriginal and francophone sites.
Kanawayhitowin An Aboriginal initiative to inform and educate service providers, family, community leaders, neighbours and friends about the risk factors of women’s abuse.
If you're in an abusive relationship, you need to plan ahead for your safety. You also need to plan ahead for the safety of your children.
During a violent incident:
- Start to position yourself to get out quickly or near a phone so you can call 9-1-1 if necessary.
- Try to move to a space where the risk is lowest. Try to avoid arguments where there might be items that could be used as weapons (such as the kitchen, bathroom or garage) or rooms without access to the outside.
- Use your judgment and intuition – do whatever will keep you safe.
- When, or after, you have been assaulted, call the police at 9-1-1 if you can. Tell them you have been assaulted by your spouse/partner/boyfriend.
- If you are able to leave, take your children with you if you can. If you try to get them later, the police cannot help you remove them from their other parent unless you have a valid court order.
Preparing an escape plan:
- Make arrangements with friends or family so you can stay with them if necessary. Teach children how to use the phone (including your cell phone if you have one) to call 9-1-1 to contact the police.
- Figure out your emergency exits/escape plan. Teach them to your children and know them well. If you cannot leave because of a disability, contact a women’s shelter to make arrangements for transportation.
- If you have call display on your phone, be careful who can get access to the stored numbers (e.g., the last number dialled).
- Use caution when storing numbers on your cell phone and/or using your computer.
- Open a bank account in your own name and arrange that no bank statements or other calls be made to you, or arrange for mail to be sent to a friend or family member.
- Save and set aside as much money as you can.
- Plan your transportation and any associated costs. Gillian's Place will send a taxi and can cover the costs of your trip to the shelter if you are coming to stay with us.
- Develop and teach your children their own safety plan.
If you have left your partner:
- Keep your phone charged and with you at all times. Pre-program the number of people to call when you need help.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- If you have a protection order or custody and access documents, keep them with you at all times.
- If you are moving to a confidential location, consider using a mailing address that is different from the one where you are actually living (e.g., set up a post office box)
- Be aware that addresses can be listed on police reports and restraining orders. Before filling out your address on any form, ask if there is a way to keep your address confidential. If not, ask if you can use a P.O. Box or friend’s address instead.
- Try to make sure the outside of your home is well lit. Install a motion-detection light if possible.
- Keep bushes etc. around your house well-trimmed, making it harder for someone to hide.
- Install extra security systems in your home if possible (e.g., additional locks, window bars, an electronic security system).
- Change the locks on the windows and doors if you are returning to your former home. Install a peephole in the door. Change the locks on your garage and mailbox.
- Consider having your phone number unlisted.
- Do not put your name in your apartment directory.
- Notify service providers (e.g., your doctor) not to give out your appointment times to your partner.
- Consider telling your neighbours about the situation. Make a plan with them for when you need help (e.g., to look after your children in an emergency)
- Teach your children not to answer the door.
- Teach your children to call 9-1-1 and what to say.
- Encourage your children to go to another room where they can leave or lock the door if they are afraid for their safety. Reassure them that they are not responsible for your safety.
- Change your routines (e.g., shop at different times/locations than you usually would) to make it harder for your partner to find you.
- If you are in a vehicle and believe you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station.
- If you are walking and believe you are being followed, cross the street, go into the nearest public place and call 9-1-1.
- Park where your vehicle cannot be easily seen if your partner drives by.
- Inform your employer or school of your situation. Ask about taking a temporary leave or about changing your duties while you gauge the abuser’s response.
- Always park as close to a building as you can in a well-lit area. Check the back seat before getting into your vehicle.
- Consider carrying a personal alarm or whistle.
- Ask for an escort to your car.
- When walking, stay in populated areas.
- Always let someone know when you will be home.
Cover your Internet tracks. If you have surfed this and/or other websites you will have left a trail that allows others to see which websites you have visited.
Following these steps should clear your browser's history and cache files; however, this does not guarantee that information will not be left on your browser. Please exercise caution with any device that can track your online activities -- this includes your phone.
We recommend browsing the internet in a private mode where possible. For example, both Safari and Google Chrome offer private browsing modes. On Google Chrome you can select to browse the Internet using the New Incognito Window that will NOT save your history, downloads, and cookies. The incognito window will open a new window for you to safely browse any website. To access the New Incognito Window mode, click on the three dots on the right-hand corner of your browser and select New Incognito Window from the list that appears. When you are done browsing, simply close the window. On Safari, click on the File button that appears at the top of the menu and select New Private Window. You can now browse the internet without having your searches documented on your device. When you're done, simply close the window. Similar private browsing modes exist on your smartphone.
Clearing History and Cache Files
1. Tap on the Tools icon in the menu section, at the top right hand corner of the browser.
2. Click on Internet Options.
3. In the General tab under Internet Options, click on Delete… in the Browsing History section. You will be directed to a new tab.
4. Under the Delete Browsing History tab, click on History. This will clear the pages you've recently visited. You will also have the option of clearing Temporary Internet files and website files and Cookies and website data. We recommend selecting all three boxes.
5. Select the Delete button at the very end for changes to take effect. Press the OK button as a last step to close the Internet Options box.
Clear your entire browsing history:
1. Go to the History panel on your home screen.
2. Tap on Clear browsing history at the bottom of the History panel.
3. Tap OK to confirm.
Clear specific items from your browser:
1. Tap the menu button (either below the screen on some devices or at the top-right corner of the browser) and select Settings (you may need to tap More first).
2. Tap Clear private data.
3. Put a check mark next to the items you want to clear and then tap Clear data.
1. Tap on the three small dots at the top right corner of your browser.
2. From the list that appears select History. At this point you can click and delete individual websites that appear in your search history. You also have the option to select Clear Browsing Data on the left hand side to remove your browsing history over a specific frame of time.
3. After selecting Clear Browsing Data, you will be given a Basic and Advanced option. You can click on the Basic tab, choose the “Last Hour” time range and place a checkmark next to all three boxes (Browsing History, Cookies and other site data, and Cached images and files). We recommend avoiding clearing all history as this may appear suspicious. Ideally, you want to delete your browsing data from the past hour or day to cover your recent tracks.
4. Click on Clear Data and close the window.
1. From the Safari menu at the top of the computer, click Clear History.
2. You will be prompted to choose between The Last Hour, Today, Today & Yesterday, or All History. Again, we recommend avoiding clearing all history as this may appear suspicious. Ideally you want to delete your browsing data from the past hour or day to cover your recent tracks.
3. Click Clear History after selecting the type of history you’d like to delete. At this point, you are done.
Cover your email tracks
1. Be sure to delete any outgoing and incoming emails.
2. Change your email password often (at least once a month).
3. Print all threatening and harassing emails to use as evidence of criminal activity.
Don’t forget popular messaging apps
1. Many users utilize SMS/text and popular messaging Apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, Viber and so forth.
2. When sharing sensitive material through text or messages, please remember that if your phone can be accessed, these messages can be seen. Be sure to delete sensitive content as soon as possible. Do not leave any information lingering on your phone.
3. When possible, do not share your phone’s security password with others.
Please visit TechSafety for more information and resources about net safety.
How to create a personalized safety plan:
For instructions on how to create a personalized Safety Plan, including Emergency Escape Plan, Emotional Safety Plan and Child Safety Plan, call Gillian's Place.
Remember, you can't do it all at once. One step at a time, one day at a time, you will become more and more safety conscious, more and more risk-aware. Also remember you are not alone. We are always just a telephone call away at 905.684.8331.