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Anvoa Business Office & Counselling Services
255 Horton Street, London, Ontario, N6B 1L1
24-Hour Emergency Shelters
101 Wellington Road, London, Ontario
450 Clarke Road (near Dundas), London, Ontario
1416 Ernest Avenue (near Bradley), London, Ontario
519-642-3000 or TTY 519-963-0427
Toll free: 1-800-265-1576
Women’s Community House has been providing shelter for abused women and their children since 1978. There are a total of 67 beds available at our two shelter locations and there is no charge for your stay. While in the shelter, women can receive counselling and are offered programs such as personal safety planning and moving toward a life free of violence. Specialized programs for children who have witnessed violence are also available. Support for physical and mental health is available on site through partnerships with the Canadian Mental Health Association and the London Middlesex Health Unit. Children and youth (up to age 16 ) can stay with you in family-style rooms. Healthy meals and snacks are provided and there is a parent relief (childcare) program so that women can attend groups and meetings as well as scheduled relief times throughout the day.
Our Wellington Shelter is located at 101 Wellington Road and our Clarke Shelter is located at 450 Clarke Road.
To find out more, contact Women’s Community House at 519-642-3000, TTY 519-963-0427 or 1-800-265-1576. WCH staff use a Model of Care that is an approach based on Feminism, Intersectionality, Hope, and Safety. Staff also believe in the Harm Reduction approach in dealing with substance use and addiction.
Second Stage Housing offers women and children well-maintained, accessible, family-oriented, affordable housing with a focus on safety. Through participation in the group programs, women and children can progress towards their positive choices and changes. There are 25 self-contained apartments available for women and their children should they need longer-term safe accommodation. Counsellors at Women’s Community House can refer you to Second Stage Housing or you can refer yourself. Women can stay in a rent-geared-to-income apartment for generally up to one year. You can reach Second Stage Housing by calling 519-642-3003 and selecting 3 or 1-800-265-1576 and ask for Second Stage Housing.
Trained staff/counsellors offer a wide variety of services to women including safety planning, legal and financial advocacy, consultation regarding housing, problem solving and community referrals.
Check the Gallery page for photos of each of our three facilities.
Here are some answers to common question you might be asking us or yourself. To finds answers to other types of question visit the FAQ page.
A: Woman abuse is any action or behaviour including verbal threats, intimidation or physical force used to create fear and control over what you do. With abuse, the abuser has more power than those they are abusing. The abuser is always the one responsible for his or her behaviour. Abusers often use alcohol or drugs as an excuse. But the real cause is their need to use violence and abuse to control another person. Abuse can be situational, infrequent or an escalating pattern of abuse. Research has found that there is a significant overlap between woman abuse and child abuse. The associated risk of serious injury or death is often predictable and safety planning can be preventative. Risk assessment can begin with a call to the Abused Women’s Helpline. Some common signs of an abusive relationship include, but are not limited to, the following. (Adapted from information provided by Education Wife Assault and National Clearinghouse on Family Violence, Interval House, Hamilton, Ontario and North York Public Health Department.).
Do you feel:
Do you believe:
A: You can be abused in many different ways. The following are just some examples:
Neglect and isolation:
Financial abuse or exploitation:
A: The effects of abuse do not stop once the hitting, yelling or put-downs stop. Here are some of the results of woman abuse:
A: Everyone is affected by woman abuse – neighbourhoods, families, work places. According to a 1999 survey on family violence, more than 461, 000 Canadian children had witnessed violence between family members in the five previous years. Other research shows that boys often react to witnessing violence by becoming more hostile and aggressive while girls often become depressed, anxious and complain of physical pain. A large portion of children exposed to abuse continue the cycle in their intimate relationships as adults.
A: Women’s Community House shelters are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. There is always somebody to answer your phone call or let you into the shelter.
A: It’s a good idea if you can call first so shelter staff can direct you to the shelter that has a room for you or make alternate arrangements at a nearby facility. However, if you believe your personal safety is at risk should you remain in your home, come to one of the shelters immediately or go to the nearest police station.
A: Depending on how much time and opportunity you have to gather things you might want to consider bringing along as many of the following items as you can, but do not delay leaving if danger is imminent:
A: You can call us at 519-642-3000 or 1-800-265-1576, and we will give you directions. If you cannot safely make a call, police officers and taxi drivers generally know our location.
A: Shelter staff will work together to find space for you at a nearby shelter at no cost to you or, if you choose, you may stay in another safe place. Transportation may be arranged, if needed.
A: The WCH Transitional Outreach Program can work closely with you to plan to leave an abusive relationship safely without coming into shelter. The necessary paperwork can happen anywhere it is safe to meet, such as a coffee shop or school, etc. In our community, there are many other resources such as police, lawyers and health care. Women’s Community House can help you to learn more about what is available. For a listing of some of these resources, check out the Resources page on this website.
A: There are a number of ways you can help:
A: Women’s Community House has a lot of built-in security measures and safety practices in place to ensure your safety. For example, staff will not talk to anyone without your permission. We also have trained staff and community partners, secure facilities and protocols to make sure you will not be harassed by your partner.
A: Safety plans involve identifying identifying specific action steps to increase your safety and helps to prepare you in advance for the possibility foof further violence. We can help you develop a safety plan.
A: Our shelters are secured by steel doors and power locks and are monitored by security cameras. Staff members, residents and visitors are all screened before being allowed inside. You will be in a secure facility and have access to trained staff and volunteers. Only those people with whom you want contact with will be allowed to see you or speak to you.
A: The length of stay is based on an assessment of the needs of each woman or family. Typically, but not always, stays are limited to six weeks.
A: There is no charge to you for your stay at either of Women’s Community House’s shelters. Women’s Community House has a variety of funders, including the provincial government, private donors, community groups and corporations.
A : Family-size rooms are available so your children can stay with you. You may have to share your room with another family or single woman. At the Clarke shelter, your room will be part of a residential unit with two other rooms and a shared kitchenette and living room.
A: You do not have to attend the programs. However, it’s a good idea to get involved in as many programs as you think will benefit you. Shelters and their programs have been designed to help you. Many women find meeting with other women and counsellors helpful.
A: Yes, you can continue to work. You will have to plan for safe travel, arrange safe child care, and any other individual issues. Women’s Community House staff can assist with those plans. Women’s Community House will help you to create a safety plan that will include your work routines. You may want to alert your supervisor or human resources personnel in case you need to make alternate arrangements to avoid contact with your abuser. For instance, you may not want your partner to be allowed on the property to pick up you or your children.
A: Every effort will be made to accommodate special dietary and cultural needs. Please let staff members know about any dietary requirements you or your children have.
A: In addition to academic and professional qualifications, shelter staff also receive ongoing, on-the-job training such as dealing with women who have experienced violence to support abused women, the effects of violence on child witnesses to woman abuse, risk assessment, Harm Reduction, legislation updates, and first aid.
A: WCH offers counselling sessions for you and your children to help you understand the impact of the abuse you have experienced and to offer suggestions, information, referrals and support you in making decisions about your future plans. Shelter staff will offer assistance in preparing an ongoing safety plan to help you respond to different situations in the future.
A: Your family pet can’t stay with you in the shelter, but WCH will help you get your pet to a safe place. Service animals are permitted to be with you at all times during your stay. Food and water will be provided to service animals and other needs can be met following a discussion of your needs.
A: Yes. Lesbians, bisexual and transgendered women who have been abused are welcome.
A: Yes you can return to the shelter if your need for safety requires a return.
A: Cultural Interpreters are available 24 hours a day. Usually it takes a couple of hours to arrange for an on- site cultural interpreter. Women’s Community House has a partnership with Across Languages who trains and provides cultural interpreters. As well, many staff members speak more than one language.
A: Women’s Community House does not charge anything for your stay at either of our two shelters.
A: Women’s Community House has a comprehensive Customer Service Policy consistent with the Accessibility Ontarians with Disabilities Act and is equipped to help women and children with disabilities. Our property is wheelchair accessible and the shelters have at least one fully accessible bedroom, shower and washroom. All common areas (kitchen, dining room, living room) are fully accessible. Wide elevator doors, Braille elevator buttons and mirrors to assist in turns and other useful features are in place throughout our facilities. Communication using TTY or other assistive devices is available. Service animals and support persons are permitted at no cost and staff are trained in customer service. The Customer Service (AODA) Policy is available for perusal (also available in an alternate format upon request).
A: Women’s Community House has transitional support workers to help you, and you can call the Abused Women’s Helpline for support through a crisis, for information and for referrals. We also offer follow-up sessions to discuss issues such as loneliness, surviving on your own and ensuring your personal safety. You may also want to contact other social agencies for further help.
A: Male and female children can stay with you. There is no age restriction for any dependent children. Accommodation may be found for older (over 18) males.
A: Every effort will be made to keep the children in their normal routine, including attending their own school. However, if you fear for their safety there, alternate confidential arrangements may be made. Both the Thames Valley and Catholic School Boards are partners in a Safe Schools Protocol to ensure safety for children, including transportation.
A: Women’s Community House provides limited childcare at specific times. Women are encouraged to arrange child care with other residents if possible, and Merrymount children’s services may be available.
A: Your rights may not be affected by going to a shelter. For more information on custody and other legal matters, we suggest you look at the Ontario Women’s Justice Network website or view the VIOLET website.
We keep a list of contact information for services that are offered to the public on our Non-WCH Services page.