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The Toronto Police Service has not experienced an increase in reports of crimes against vulnerable people, including those for child abuse, intimate partner violence, or elder abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic, however multiple hotlines across the city have been receiving an increase in calls relating to family violence.

These crimes often go unreported, and current circumstances may pose additional barriers for people to get the help and support they need. If you are a victim of any kind of violence or abuse, or if you believe someone you know is being victimized, there are community resources available and police are actively responding to these calls for service.

Support Is Available

The City of Toronto has partnered with community agencies to develop and implement #HereToHelpTO, to raise awareness and connect residents to the various social service agencies, programs, and supports that are still available to children, youth and families experiencing violence or abuse during this time. By connecting with one of the service providers below, residents can receive critical support, such as crisis counselling, emotional support, safety planning, information and referrals completely free of charge.

For some people, home isn’t always a safe place due to intimate partner violence or child abuse, and COVID-19 has resulted in challenges accessing safety and support. However, there are many agencies and services still available to Toronto residents in need of immediate support. The agencies listed below provide 24/7 support, crisis counselling, emotional support, safety planning, information and referrals to those experiencing intimate partner violence or child abuse

Intimate Partner & Domestic Violence

Assaulted Women’s Helpline

The Assaulted Women’s Helpline is a 24-hour telephone and TTY crisis line available to all women who have experienced abuse and provide counselling, emotional support, information and referrals.

  • Call: 416-863-0511
  • Toll Free: 1-866-863-0511
  • TTY: 1-866-863-7868
  • Available 24/7

Toronto Rape Crisis Centre

The Toronto Rape Crisis Centre is a grassroots, women-run collective working towards a violence-free world by providing anti-oppressive, feminist peer support to survivors of sexual violence through support, education and activism.

  • Call: 416-597-8808
  • Available 24/7

Women’s College Hospital

The Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Care Centre (SA/DVCC) is a comprehensive service that assists women, men, and trans people, over the age of 14, who are victims/survivors of sexual assault and domestic/intimate partner violence.

  • Call 416-323-6040
  • Available 24/7

Toronto Police Services

Toronto Police Officers are available and responsible for community and divisional support in the areas of domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, mental health and victim/witness support.

  • For Emergency, call 911
  • For Non-Emergencies, call 416-808-2222
  • Available 24/7

Victim Services Toronto

Victim Services Toronto provides immediate crisis response, intervention and prevention services which are responsive to the needs of individuals, families and communities affected by crime and sudden tragedies.

  • Call: 416-808-7066
  • Available 24/7

Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter

Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter, an organization run by women, provides support and shelter for women and children escaping violence. Ernestine’s assists women and children in rebuilding their lives by providing crisis intervention and a range of holistic support services, while acknowledging the multitude of issues facing survivors of abuse.

  • Call: 416-746-3701 ext. 0
  • TTY: 416-746-3716
  • Available 24/7

Talk4Healing

Talk4Healing is a culturally grounded, fully confidential helpline for Indigenous women available in 14 languages all across Ontario.

  • Call or Text: 1-855-554-HEAL (4325)
  • Available 24/7

Fem’aide

Fem’aide offers French-speaking women who have experienced gender-based violence, support, information and referral to appropriate front-line services within their communities, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Call: 1-877-336-2433
  • Available 24/7

Dandelion Initiative

The Dandelion Initiative is a non-profit organization led by survivors of sexual violence for survivors of sexual violence. The goal of the Dandelion Initiative is to serve as a survivor-led source of education and training with the intention to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence in the workplace and in communities.

Family Services Toronto

Family Service Toronto works with individuals and families in Toronto, destabilized by precarious socio-economic circumstances and/or mental health, to achieve greater resilience and stability in more just and supportive communities.

  • Call: 416-595-9618
  • Available 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Child Abuse

Kids Help Phone

Kids Help Phone offers confidential professional online, telephone, and text-based counselling to children and youth available in both English and French.

  • Call: 1-800-668-6868
  • Text: CONNECT to 686868
  • Available 24/7

BOOST CYAC

Boost CYAC brings together police, child protection, medical and mental health professionals, as well as dedicated child and family advocates, to work under one roof to provide a coordinated response to children, youth and their families when child abuse occurs. Now, children, youth and families only have to go to one location when abuse is reported to receive all of the services that are required and they will no longer be further victimized and traumatized by having to repeat what has happened to them many times.

  • Call: 416-515-1100
  • Available Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Children’s Aid Society (CAS) of Toronto

CAS of Toronto provides programming and support to strengthen families so children and youth can remain at home, and provides alternate care for children and youth who are unable to do so. When caregivers, children or youth reach out, the agency can assist and engage with families to identify and create a plan for helping to keep children safe.

  • Call: 416-924-4646
  • Available 24/7

Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto

The Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CCAS) has been protecting children from physical, emotional, sexual abuse and neglect for more than 125 years. CCAS programs and services are designed to meet the needs of the Catholic families and children and youth living in Toronto.

  • Call: 416-395-1500
  • Available 24/7

Jewish Family & Child Service of Greater Toronto

The Jewish Family & Child Service of Greater Toronto is a multi-service agency that strengthens and supports individuals, children, families and communities by increasing safety and security, improving mental health and wellness and reducing the effects of poverty, within the context of Jewish values.

  • Call: 416-638-7800
  •  Available 24/7

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (NCFST) is a multi-service urban Aboriginal agency providing holistic, culture-based programs and services for Aboriginal children and families. NCFST strives to provide a life of quality, well-being, healing, and self-determination for children and families in the Toronto urban Aboriginal community.

  • Call: 416-969-8510 ext. 3290
  • Available 24/7

Toronto Police Services

Toronto Police Officers are available and responsible for community and divisional support in the areas of domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, mental health and victim/witness support.

  • For Emergency, call 911
  • For Non-Emergencies, call 416-808-2222
  • Available 24/7

Hospitals

For those who have experienced violence or abuse, medical care centres in Toronto are open and available to provide crisis and medical support. These services include but are not limited to: crisis support, assessment, completing sexual assault evidence kits, medical testing, safety planning and referrals to community services.

Anyone can be tested for COVID-19 whether or not they have health insurance. If you don’t have access to a family doctor, nurse, or nurse practitioner you can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.

Find a facility near you:

Women’s College Hospital (WCH) – Mobile Team
76 Grenville St., Main Floor, Toronto
Located in the Acute Ambulatory Care Unit, Room 1256
Phone: 416-323-6040
WCH will see survivors 14 age and older

Sick Kids Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Unit
555 University Ave., Toronto
For sexual assault pertaining to children or youth under 14
Phone: 416-813-6275

Scarborough Grace Hospital
3030 Birchmount Road, Scarborough
Phone: 416-495-2555
This hospital will see survivors 12 years and over

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (Emergency Room) – Mobile Team
2075 Bayview Ave., Toronto
Phone: 416-480-6100

Mt. Sinai Hospital (Emergency Room) – Mobile Team
600 University Ave., Toronto
Phone: 416-596-4200

St. Joseph’s Health Centre (Emergency Room) – Mobile Team
30 The Queensway, Toronto
Phone: 416-530-6000

Trillium Health Centre in Mississauga
100 Queensway W. (Queensway and Hurontario)
Phone: 905-848-0511
Serving survivors 12 years or older who have been sexually assaulted within the last 72 hours

Shelter & Housing Supports

Please see the list of Toronto shelters and their phone numbers, below. You can also call 311 and ask for your call to be transferred to Central Intake or you can call Central Intake directly at 416-397-5637 or toll free within the GTA at 1-877-338-3398. Service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Find a shelter near you.

Mental Health Supports

It’s OK not to feel OK. Learn about the supports available for mental health.

Legal Supports

  • Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) provides free legal assistance for low-income people in Ontario who meet their income eligibility rules. During the COVID-19 crisis, LAO has waived all legal and financial eligibility requirements for domestic violence survivors. This accommodation will remain in effect until further notice. If you have experienced domestic violence and need help with a family law matter, please call LAO’s Contact Centre immediately:
    • Toll-free: 1-800-668-8258
    • GTA: 416-979-1446
    • Bell Relay: 1-800-855-0511

LAO can help with family law matters such as a restraining order for an abusive ex‑partner, or maintaining access to your child during the COVID‑19 emergency. This confidential telephone line is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST). When you reach the Contact Centre, you may ask to speak with a LAO family lawyer for free summary legal advice and/or apply for a legal aid certificate. This service can be accessed in over 300 languages.

  • The Ontario Women’s Justice Network (OWJN) is METRAC’s legal information website. OWJN helps survivors of violence and their supporters better understand legal rights in Ontario. The website offers accessible legal information in a way that reflects the diverse experiences and realities of women.
  • Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic offers legal, counselling and interpretation services to marginalized populations of women who have survived violence.
  • Newcomers and their dependent children without status in Canada who are experiencing family violence can apply for a fee-exempt Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), which gives them legal immigration status in Canada and access to a fee-exempt open work permit as well as to Interim Federal Health Program coverage. An expedited process also exists for those in urgent situations of family violence who apply for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. The expedited processing of TRPs for cases of family violence has been deemed an essential service by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. Immigration Options for Victims of Family Violence
  • The 519 is committed to the health, happiness and full participation of the LGBTQ2S communities. The 519 Legal Clinic provides free and confidential summary legal advice and referrals in an LGBTQ2S-positive and inclusive space on a first-come, first-served basis. To book an appointment:

Financial

Many Toronto residents find themselves in financial hardship because of COVID-19. Find out more about COVID-19 income supports to help Toronto residents get back on their feet.

Food Support

A variety of food access programs are available to Toronto residents during COVID-19:

Toronto residents who need assistance to find local food banks, food delivery and prepared meals can call 211 or visit 211toronto.ca for information on food programs.

Non-Status Supports

The Barbra Schlifer Clinic offers a list of resources for non-status women trying to navigate COVID-19 in addition to the already difficult situation in which they find themselves as recent migrants or otherwise. Resources for Non-Status Women During COVID-19.

Newcomers and their dependent children without status in Canada who are experiencing family violence can apply for a fee-exempt Temporary Resident Permit (TRP), which gives them legal immigration status in Canada and access to a fee-exempt open work permit as well as to Interim Federal Health Program coverage. An expedited process also exists for those in urgent situations of family violence who apply for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. The expedited processing of TRPs for cases of family violence has been deemed an essential service by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. Immigration Options for Victims of Family Violence

Identifying Violence & Abuse

Potential signs of abuse during COVID-19:

  • You notice that someone is nervous, dismissive, or irritated when you mention or ask about their partner
  • Someone seems distant during conversation and doesn’t want to talk about themselves or their life
  • Someone refuses to go on a video chat with you for a certain period of time, perhaps to hide wound inflictions or control by the abusive partner
  • If you are video chatting and someone seems jumpy or hyper-aware of their surroundings, it may be an indication of abuse
  • A sudden change of communication patterns (e.g. not posting on social media as much as they used to, not replying to text messages)
  • There’s an increase in unhealthy daily routines as a method to cope, such as sleeping too much or not enough, not eating, not bathing, loss of interest in daily activities, or substance abuse

Additional resources:

Safety Tips

Coping & Mental Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged everyone’s ability to cope with stress. It has created new life stressors and made existing ones even more intense. Managing stress is more difficult when we are taken out of our regular routines, dealing with a constantly changing situation and distanced from our usual supports.

Learn about the supports available for mental health.

How to Help

Promoting Healthy Relationships

Websites/resources: