The Domestic Violence Unit investigates offences, assists victims, and makes referrals to community partners. Victims are supported with safety planning and risk assessments.
519-421-2800 ext. 236 or 1-800-537-6277
519-688-6540 or 1-888-310-1122
If your (ex)-partner has been charged with any domestic violence crime against you, a Crown Attorney along with community services are available to speak with you about the charges, the court process, and resources available. These meetings are drop-in from 10am—12pm on Fridays at the Woodstock courthouse.
Legal aid may be available to assist you with the cost of a lawyer based on your financial situation and specific legal issue.
DUTY COUNSEL: 519-539-6187
CRIMINAL CHARGES: 1-800-668-8258
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SUPPORT: 1-800-688-8258
Offers immediate, short term crisis intervention 24/7 to individuals impacted by crime or tragedy. Trained staff and volunteers are available to provide emotional support, practical assistance and information on site or by telephone. Services are voluntary and free of charge. Available during business hours or through emergency services after-hours.
Victim/Witness Assistance Program - Ministry of the Attorney Genereral
Woodstock ON N4S 6J8
Probation and Parole Officers assess and supervise offenders in the community. Officers may answer victim questions related to the process of supervision and some relevant client supervision information.
519-539-8175 (collect calls accepted)
A telephone service providing victims with notification of release dates and hearings for the offender in their case. Registration is needed.
Individualized support within the community for adults who are coping with persistent mental health issues.
COURT DIVERSIONS AND SUPPORT:
Integrative support and rehabilitation as agreed upon by the Crown Attorney for adults with a serious mental disorder (mental illness, develop-mental delay, or acquired brain injury) who have come into contact with the Criminal Justice System
CONCURRENT DISORDER SUPPORT:
Community support for individuals who are coping with both a persistent mental illness and a substance abuse issue.
Permanent independent living accommodations for individuals with a persistent mental illness who is homeless or at risk of homeless-ness. (Locations in Ingersoll, Woodstock, and Tillsonburg)
Specialized staff offer counselling, assessments and individualized safety plans for women, experiencing abuse in their intimate relationships. Group support and individual counselling is available for women. Groups are offered for children who have witnessed family violence. The program offers specialized group services for perpetrators of partner assault. These are primarily for Court ordered clients. Group are negotiated per ability to pay. Non Court ordered referrals may participate in the program but most pay the full cost of the program fees.
712 Peel St, Woodstock
1-800-250-7010 ext. 380
Mental Health Services of Oxford County
Woodstock General Hospital offers both inpatient and outpatient services. Outpatient services include adult and child mental health programs. Self-referral or referral from your family physician. The services include psychiatric consultation; individual, group, family and marriage counselling.
310 Juliana Drive, Woodstock
Offers both inpatient and outpatient services. Self-referral or referral from your family physician will enable access to the hospital’s services. The services include emergent care in the social support on an outpatient basis.
DASO offers a wide range of supportive services for women abused by an intimate partner. Services are free and confidential. Trained staff are available 24 hours a day and on our crisis line to assist with safety planning, offer support and referrals or just to talk about the abuse. Individual support is offered in Tillsonburg, Ingersoll and Norwich by appointment. A weekly women’s group is offered in Woodstock. Long-term support for women who have been sexually abused/assaulted is provided throughout the county.
975 James St, Woodstock
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 519-421-0383 ext. 224
Manager, Programs & Outreach
Tel: 519-421-0383 ext. 223
Property Maintenance & Donations
Tel: 519-421-0383 ext. 222
Programs & Outreach
Content: (*information taken from Government of Canada, 2022.
Gender based violence refers to the harm faced by individuals solely based on their gender, gender expression, gender identity or perceived gender. Certain populations experience this violence disproportionately. Those include:
The intersection of any two or more of the above mentioned characteristics may increase a person’s risk and vulnerability to violence. In other words, people who have more than one of these characteristics, such as being a young woman living with a disability, may be even at a higher risk of GBV.
Research also shows that other groups experience high levels of GBV as well, including:
The negative effects of GBV reach far beyond the individuals who directly experience them. Violence can have long-lasting and negative health, social and economic effects that span generations, which can lead to cycles of violence and abuse within families and sometimes whole communities. GBV holds us all back.
GBV is not limited to physical violence and can include any word, action, or attempt to degrade, control, humiliate, intimidate, coerce, deprive, threaten, or harm another person. GBV can take many forms including cyber, physical, sexual, societal, psychological, emotional, and economic. Neglect, discrimination, and harassment can also be forms of GBV.
(Domestic violence — also called intimate partner violence — occurs between people in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence can take many forms, including emotional, sexual, and physical abuse and threats of abuse. Domestic violence can happen in heterosexual or same-sex relationships.)
Abusive relationships always involve an imbalance of power and control. An abuser uses intimidating, hurtful words and behaviors to control their partner.
It might not be easy to identify domestic violence at first. While some relationships are clearly abusive from the onset, abuse often starts subtly and gets worse over time.
Content: If you identify as 2SLGBTQ+ you might also be experiencing domestic and/or intimate partner violence if you're in a relationship with someone who:
Tells you that authorities won't help you based on your sexuality and identity
Tells you that leaving the relationship means you're admitting that your relationship is deviant
Tells you that women can't be violent
Justifies abuse by telling you that you're not "really" 2SLGBTQ+)
Pregnancy, Children and Abuse
Content: Sometimes domestic and/or intimate partner violence begins — or increases — during pregnancy, putting your health and the baby's health at risk. The danger continues after the baby is born.
Even if your child isn't abused, witnessing domestic violence can be harmful. Children who grow up in abusive homes are more likely to experience abuse in their future relationships and have increased behavioral problems. As adults, they're more likely to become abusers or think abuse is a normal part of relationships.
Here's a video that explains the impact of violence on children: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) - Bing video
You might worry that telling the truth will further endanger you, your child or other family members, and it might break up your family, but seeking help is the best way to protect your children and yourself.
Content: (If you're an immigrant, you may be hesitant to seek help out of fear that you will be deported. Language barriers, lack of economic dependence and limited social support can increase your isolation and your ability to access resources.
Laws in Canada guarantee protection from domestic abuse, regardless of your immigrant status. Free or low-cost resources are available, including lawyers, shelter and medical care for you and your children. You may also be eligible for legal protections that allow immigrants who experience domestic violence to stay in Canada.
Call a national domestic violence hotline for guidance. These services are free and protect your privacy.
If you're an older woman,you may face challenges related to your age and the length of your relationship. You may have grown up in a time when domestic violence was simply not discussed. You or your partner may have health problems that increase your dependency or sense of responsibility.
If you're in a same-sex relationship, you might be less likely to seek help after an assault if you don't want to disclose your sexual orientation. If you've been sexually assaulted by another woman, you might also fear that you won't be believed.
The only way to break the cycle of domestic violence is to take action. Start by telling someone about the abuse, whether it's a friend, loved one, health care provider or other close contact. You can also call a national domestic violence hotline. At first, you might find it hard to talk about the abuse. But understand that you are not alone and there are people who can help you. You'll also likely feel relief and receive much-needed support.
Sexual violence refers to any form of unwanted sexual contact. That includes sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Sexual assault refers to unwanted sexual activity (e.g. touching, kissing someone without consent, rape). Sexual harassment can include comments, behaviour, and unwanted sexual contact. It can take the form of jokes, threats, and discriminatory remarks about someone’s gender or sexuality. It can happen in person or online.
Sexual violence is a form of gender-based violence rooted in gender inequality and injustice. It can happen in various circumstances including between people in romantic relationships, in families, at work, between friends and acquaintances, and with strangers. It often occurs in private places between people who know each other.
Content: Anybody can experience this violence, no matter their background, identity, or circumstance. But women, girls, and gender-diverse people are at high risk of sexual violence. Some are at even higher risk due to the additional discrimination and barriers they face. This includes women with disabilities, Indigenous women, and women who are homeless or underhoused.
Approximately 4.7 million women (or 30% of all women) aged 15 and older have been sexually assaulted outside of an intimate relationship (Stats Canada, 2019). Sexual assault offenders are often known to those they victimize comprising of 52%. They are either friends, acquaintances and/or neighbours.
Indigenous women are approximately three times more likely to experience sexual assault and are frequently dismissed by the justice system based on ongoing structural violence resulting from colonization and may be associated with unconscious or conscious racial bias (Jodie Murphy-Oikonen et al., Violence Against Women, 2021).
People who identify as homosexual or bisexual have a rate of sexual assault six times higher than those who identify as heterosexual (Shana Conroy & Adam Cotter, Statistics Canada, 2017). Transgender people report higher rates of both physical and sexual assault in their lifetimes compared to cisgender people (Brianna Jaffray, Canadian Centre for Justice & Community Safety Statistics, 2020).
People with disabilities experience sexual violence approximately two times higher than those with no disability (Shana Conroy & Adam Cotter, Statistics Canada, 2017).
People, especially women, who are sexually victimized in childhood are more likely to be victimized in the future, experiencing sexual and physical assault at rates three times higher than those who did not experience childhood sexual violence (Adam Cotter, Statistics Canada, 2021).
Research is also showing that young boys and men are also impacted by sexual violence at staggering rates, however due to social stigmas and how men are “supposed to act”, they are often underreported, with many young boys and men suffering in silence.
Content: Trafficking is referred as describing recruiting, transporting and holding people for the purpose of exploitation. Trafficking is a criminal offence and is a gendered form of violence (Public Safety Canada, 2021). Men who are trafficked are often exploited for physical labour whereas women are often subject to sexual coercion in order to force them into other kinds of labour such as commercial sexual activity (Fay Faraday, 2019).
It is important not to equate trafficking for sexual exploitation with voluntary sex work. “Adult individuals who voluntarily engage in sex work are not, according to the Canadian Criminal Code and UN protocol, being trafficked … While experiencers of human trafficking may be forced into sexual exploitation, it does not follow that all sex workers are exploited or that their activities constitute a form of human trafficking” (Robert Nonomura, 2020). *insert sex work vs HT graphic
Content: It impacts women, girls, people who are 2SLGBTQ+, homeless and marginalized youth, Indigenous women and girls, and those living with addiction, mental illness and developmental disabilities (Ministry of Children, Community & Social Services, 2021).
In Canada, trafficking and exploitation cannot be pulled apart from colonialism and systemic racism, both of which have led to high rates of sexual violence against Indigenous, Black, and racialized women and youth, 2SLGGBTQ+ people, and undocumented people, to name a few (Robert Nonomura, 2020).
Data from 2009 to 2018 show that in 97 per cent of trafficking cases reported to police, survivors are women or girls, and the majority of those are young women (45% are 18 to 24) or girls (28% are under 18) (Adam Cotter, 2020).
Content: You may not be ready to seek help because you believe you're at least partially to blame for the abuse in the relationship. Reasons may include:
Your partner blames you for the violence in your relationship. Abusive partners rarely take responsibility for their actions.
Your partner only exhibits abusive behavior with you. Abusers are often concerned with outward appearances and may appear charming and stable to those outside of your relationship. This may cause you to believe that their actions can only be explained by something you've done.
Therapists and doctors who see you alone or with your partner haven't detected a problem. If you haven't told your doctor or other health care providers about the abuse, they may only take note of unhealthy patterns in your thinking or behavior, which can lead to a misdiagnosis. For example, survivors of intimate partner violence may develop symptoms that resemble personality disorders. Exposure to intimate partner violence also increases your risk of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If health care providers focus on your symptoms, this may worsen your fear that you are responsible for the abuse in your relationship.
You have acted out verbally or physically against your abuser, yelling, pushing, or hitting them during conflicts. You may worry that you are abusive, but it's much more likely that you acted in self-defence or intense emotional distress. Your abuser may use such incidents to manipulate you, describing them as proof that you are the abusive partner.
Content: If you're having trouble identifying what's happening, take a step back and look at larger patterns in your relationship. Then, review the signs of domestic violence. In an abusive relationship, the person who routinely uses these behaviors is the abuser. The person on the receiving end is being abused.
If you're in an abusive situation, you might recognize this pattern:
Your abuser threatens violence -> Your abuser strikes-> Your abuser apologizes, promises to change and offers gifts; the cycle repeats itself.
Typically, the violence becomes more frequent and severe over time. The longer you stay in an abusive relationship, the greater the physical and emotional toll. You might become depressed and anxious or begin to doubt your ability to take care of yourself. You might feel helpless or paralyzed.
Leaving an abuser can be dangerous. Consider taking these precautions:
Call a women's shelter or domestic violence hotline for advice. Make the call at a safe time — when the abuser isn't around — or from a friend's house or other safe location.
Pack an emergency bag that includes items you'll need when you leave, such as extra clothes and keys. Leave the bag in a safe place. Keep important personal papers, money and prescription medications handy so that you can take them with you on short notice.
Know exactly where you'll go and how you'll get there.
In an emergency, call 911 — or your local emergency number or law enforcement agency. The following resources also can help:
An abuser can use technology to monitor your telephone and online communication and to track your location. If you're concerned for your safety, seek help. To maintain your privacy: