Loading articles...

Behind Closed Doors: How to seek help in Canada

Last Updated Mar 15, 2021 at 8:58 am EDT

Stock photo

CityNews and OMNI News have launched a new investigative series “Behind Closed Doors” detailing the epidemic of family violence plaguing our communities.

If you recognize some of the behaviour detailed in this series in your home or in the home of someone who is close to you, remember you are not alone, and please find several dedicated resources which provide support for victims of family violence.

To find support services in one of the following categories, please click below:

General Resources

  • Assaulted Women’s Crisis Lines:
    • GTA: 416-863-0511
    • TOLL-FREE: 1-866-863-0511
    • Text #7233 on your Bell, Rogers, Fido or Telus mobile phone
  • myPlan Canada
    • myPlan Canada is a tool that women experiencing intimate partner violence can use to help them make decisions about their safety, health and well-being.

Children and teenagers:

  • Childhelp National Child Abuse: 1-800-422-4453
    • National 24/7 hotline (with multilingual services available) that helps with finding the contact information of the child protection service in your area
  • Youth Space: 778-783-0177
    • Text the helpline or log onto the Youth Space website for free and confidential online crisis and emotional support chat for Canadian youth up to 30 years of age to access emotional support, resources, and crisis response services
  • KidsHelpPhone
    • Text 686868 or call 1-800-668-6868 to start a confidential conversation with a person you can trust.


  • Prideline: 1-800-566-1170 (Mon-Fri 9-5)
    • Qmunity is a Vancouver-based resource centre offering community services and programs that celebrate, support and enhance the diverse cultures of queer communities throughout British Columbia
  • Trans Lifeline: (877) 330-6366 (10-5 ET)
    • A grassroots North American hotline and microgrants non-profit organization offering direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis – for the trans community, by the trans community.
  • The 519 Church Street Community Centre
    • This centre in Toronto provides supports and services to LGBTQ+ communities, including education and training, sports and recreation, community drop-in, and newcomer settlement services.
  • Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youthline: 1-800-268-9688
    • A toll-free peer support phone line for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, 2-spirited, queer and questioning youth (26 years and younger) in Ontario. The Youth Line provides support through online forums and email.

Indigenous women and girls

  • Laichwiltach Family Life Society
    • To provide holistic services (cultural, mental, emotional, spiritual, physical) to Aboriginal people and families in the Campbell River region and surrounding area and Comox Valley//The Family Therapy Service provides holistic and client centered counselling to children, youth, adults, couples, and families. Service is provided to people of Aboriginal descent and their families in Campbell River and the Comox Valley//help you connect with free legal aid services over the phone or in-person
  • Talk4Healing
    • 24/7 helpline for Indigenous women in Ontario: 1-855-554-4325
    • Crisis line: 1-888-200-9997
  • Hope for Wellness:
    • 24/7 crisis helpline available to all Indigenous peoples across Canada: 1-855-242-3310

Programs for male abusers


  • Legal Aid Ontario
    • Toll-free line, available in 300 languages: 1‑800‑668‑8258
    • Confidential telephone service for those who have experienced domestic violence: 1-800-668-8258 (GTA: 416-979-1446)
  • Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
    • This clinic provides free legal representation in family and immigration law, as well as counselling and language interpreter services for women who experience physical, sexual, or psychological abuse
    • Toronto area: 416-323-9149

Shelter information

  • Shelter Safe
    • National database of shelters in Canada for women experiencing violence
  • Nisa Homes
    • Nisa Homes offers a safe place to stay for domestic violence victims in B.C., Alberta and Ontario that caters to cultural needs of immigrant, refugee and Muslim women.

For those who believe someone close to them is being abuse

  • Violence against refugee women
  • Recognizing and responding to intimate partner violence for refugees resource guide 
  • How to identify and help women at risk of abuse (via Neighbours, Friends and Families)
    • An initiative from Western University, Neighbours, Friends and Families is 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. It engages the power of everyday relationships to help keep women and their children safe.
  • Resource Manual for Front-Line Workers (via Battered women support services)
    • With information, analysis and practical tools, this manual is designed to enhance knowledge and strengthen skills of the women & men who are the first point of contact to comprehensively meet the needs of refugee and immigrant women. Provides list of resources and contacts for women and advocates.
  • Battered women’s support services: 1-855-687-1868 or text 604-652-1867
    • Battered Women’s Support Services provides education, advocacy, and support services to assist all women in its aim to work towards the elimination of violence and to work from a feminist perspective that promotes equality for all women

Sexual abuse resources

Online safety

For those with disabilities

  • ReportON
    • You can call 1-800-575-2222 or email reportONdisability@ontario.ca if you suspect abuse or neglect of an adult with developmental disabilities