Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System

| home | about us | what's new | publications | services | research | contact us | conference | site map | employment | search |

Supporting Woman Abuse Survivors as Mothers

This page is an excerpt from:

Helping Children Thrive: Supporting Woman Abuse Survivors as Mothers

The Needs of Abused Women as Mothers

A mother may ask for assistance with issues such as...

  • physical safety and/or safety planning for herself and her children

  • information about community resources for children

  • counselling for children, to let them talk about their feelings, learn to deal with anger, and learn to respect their mothers

  • information on child development and how violence affects that development

  • respite from care-taking or a break from day-to-day struggles

  • help with parenting a child whose behaviour is worrisome or challenging

  • help to relate to her children in a new and different way

  • assistance to negotiate contact with a partner over his access to the children

  • legal advice about a custody agreement/order or getting child support

Safety takes priority. Help with parenting is relevant only after safety is addressed. If a woman and children are not safe, help them access the appropriate services in your community.

At the Parent Help Line 23% of calls to this free 24/7 hotline are about discipline and problem behaviours, followed by child development and health (20%), personal problems of parents (17%), and issues arising from divorce, custody or adoption (9%).

Handouts for Women

These handouts may be helpful for some women to whom you are providing services.

Summary of key issues of safety planning for women: Staying Safe

Summary of key issues of safety of children: Helping Your Children Stay Safe

These forms can help women tell you what they need: You Know What You Need: Ask For It!

Helpful Resources

These places can help Ontario women find resources in their areas of the province.

Assaulted Women's Helpline

The Assaulted Women's Helpline is a free, 24-hour crisis line -- available in 154 languages -- where Ontario women can talk to someone who understands and be directed to local services. The service is anonymous and confidential. They also speak to friends and family members of abused women, service providers and other professionals in contact with abused women. The toll-free numbers are:

  • 1-866-863-0511 (outside the GTA)

  • (416) 863-0511 (GTA)
  • 1-866-863-7868 (TTY)
  • #SAFE (#7233), from any cell phone in the Bell Mobility network in Ontario

If you know a woman whose first language is not English, she can call the Assaulted Women's Helpline for support or referral. All she needs to do is state the language in which she requires service. The Language Line service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Helpline counsellors will strive to make culturally appropriate referrals based on what the caller indicates she needs at the time.

The Assaulted Women's Helpline is only available in Ontario. To find resources in other parts of Canada, see ShelterNet or the National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence.

Ontario Women's Directorate

The Ontario Women's Directorate has links to many helpful services, under "Help for Assaulted Women."

Safety Planning

Women with access to the Internet can develop their own safety plans at ShelterNet That site also has information about how to "hide your Internet activities" if it is not safe to be surfing sites about woman abuse.

Legal Aid

Some women will be able to get free legal counsel. Find more information at the web site of Legal Aid Ontario.

Lawyer Referral Service

The Lawyer Referral Service of the Law Society of Upper Canada can help Ontario women find a local lawyer. There are two ways to call.

  • Abused women in crisis (e.g., in a shelter, a hospital, or who are living with an abuser) can call toll-free 1-800-268-8326 (or in the 416 area code: 947-3330)

  • If you are not "in crisis," you will be directed to call 1-900-565-4LRS (4577) and a $6.00 charge will be made on your telephone bill. For the $6.00, the service will provide the name of a lawyer who will provide up to 30 minutes free consultation.

If it is too dangerous to have this charge on your telephone bill, call the toll-free number.

You can also find lawyers in the telephone book, under "LAWYERS." Those who take family law cases will indicate such in their adverstisements.

Parent Help Line

The Parent Help Line was forced to close down but their web site continues to exist with many helpful resources on parenting.

Resources for Young people

The Kids Help Phone is a toll-free crisis and referral line where young people can call to speak with someone privately and anonymously. It operates 24/7 at 1-800-668-6868.

Teenagers may find helpful information including how to make a safety plan at www.burstingthebubble.com

Young women in abusive relationships might find this site helpful: When Love Hurts

backtable of contentsnext

Find more information on working with abused women in these two resources.

Helping an Abused Woman: 101 Things to Know, Say & Do

Helping Abused Women in Shelters: 101 Things to Know, Say & Do

Helping Abused Women in Shelters

| home | about us | what's new | publications | services | research | contact us | conference | links | site map | search |

© 2004-2010 Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System