About the Women In Crisis
Women In Crisis provides free temporary emergency shelter and support services 24 hours a day / 7 days a week for women who have or are experiencing abuse and violence.
Women In Crisis Commitment to you
We hope that your stay at our Shelter will provide you with what you need. We look forward to
supporting you with your goals in some of the following ways:
- Meeting with you for counselling or supportive listening
- With housing information and forms
- With referrals to the services you are looking for in your community.
- With information about safety planning, parenting and problem solving
- Providing Groups for you and your children, including house meetings where communal living expectations are presented
- Protecting your confidentiality: WIC shares your information only with your signed release. We can answer any questions you may have about confidentiality
- Providing a safe nonviolent shelter for you and your children.
Your commitment to Women In Crisis
As a Shelter resident, I understand that WIC staff must consider all house residents, including children.
I agree to the following being an important part of residing in Shelter:
- My emotional and physical safety and that of my children, other residents (including children) and staff is promoted through a violence free environment
- Providing supervision for my children
- Maintaining the confidentially of all shelter residents, staff & volunteers
- Understanding that we all benefit from a clean and safe living environment
- Being responsible for safe storage of my belongings
Our Vision is to live in a society free of all forms of abuse and violence towards women and children.
Women In Crisis (Algoma) Inc., is an innovative non-profit community based organization working to provide advocacy, support, safe shelter, programs, and services for all women and children affected by abuse and violence. Women In Crisis provides leadership, education, and awareness to the community on the issues of woman abuse.
Women In Crisis (Algoma) Inc., works within a feminist perspective to provide a safe and supportive environment through confidentiality, empowerment, and respect to women and their children who have been or are being affected by abuse and/or violence.
Services based on individual needs include:
- 24-hour, 7 days/week, accessibility to shelter and support services,
- Individualized and/or group, long term and crisis abuse counselling,
- Telephone/walk-in crisis counselling,
- Awareness and education,
- Systemic and individual advocacy,
- Referral services, and
- Safe housing support.
The Feminist Perspective
In working within a feminist perspective to achieve our Mission we:
- Acknowledge that a power imbalance between genders exists
- Commit to putting women first to overcome this imbalance and work towards ending this oppression
- Empower women to fully realize their intrinsic worth, strengths, and values and understand that inequalities still exist
- Recognize that this power imbalance is caused by the beliefs, attitudes, and value towards women throughout history
- Realize women are oppressed, with many being multi-oppressed (e.g. gender, race, sexual orientation, ability, poverty, etc.)
- Recognize that both women and men must work together toward achieving a true balance of power for all
Women In Crisis opened its first Home at 123 March Street in March, 1979 thanks to the tireless dedication and efforts of Tony van den Bosch and Terry Shamess and the people who supported them through this process.
The first Ontario shelter had opened in Toronto in 1973. Women In Crisis was approximately the 9th of the over 150 shelters which eventually came into existence in our province. There are now 500+ shelters providing services to abused women and their children throughout Canada. In the 1970’s, this was an entirely new service modality, its client needs had received no recognition, and no governmental support was available for this issue.
The Home accommodated twelve (12) residents – women and children. Services were shelter, a telephone crisis line and walk-in services to women with or without children who were victims of abuse. The walk-in and telephone crisis line annually served hundreds of women from the community. The staff complement was minimal. Funding was unstable, reliant on a one-time grant after another. Closure of the organization was frequently imminent. The need for Shelter and support services was relentless. The need quickly and increasingly out-grew the organization’s capacity to meet the community’s service needs.
In January 1991, after four (4) years since application to the Ministry of Housing and a myriad of meetings and mounds of paperwork, the new twenty-four (24) bed Home on Oakland Avenue was opened. The budget had stabilized years later with permanent annualized funding from MCSS. The move saw the budget and staff complement doubled.
What do I tell my kids?
We recommend not giving your children too much information. Children do not have the knowledge or understanding to take on adult matters. Often telling your children that you and daddy aren’t going to live together anymore but that you both still love them very much is enough for a child. If the child is older then saying to them that mom and dad aren’t getting along and that its time that they live apart is usually enough. Remember that your children are living in the same environment as you are, so more often then not they know everything that has been going on, they just need reassurance.
Visits aren’t going well, my child is refusing to go but has to, what do I do?
You can safety plan with your child, explain to them what they can do to keep themselves safe if situations are going badly. If they disclose abuse you can call CAS and report what they are telling you. If you feel strongly that the situation needs more intervention you can look into returning to court and you can contact the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and find out how they can help.
How do I apply for housing?
You can contact Housing directly or you can come in and speak with a Crisis Worker who will guide you through the process of applying for rent geared to income housing.
How do I access childcare once I get my own place?
There is a subsidy you can apply for through Child Care Algoma that may be able to help you pay for childcare if you qualify. If you are on Ontario Works they may be able to assist you as well.
Does WIC have long term counselling?
WIC does offer long-term counselling for women no longer residing in the shelter. You need to call and speak with a Crisis Worker about your situation and a referral will be completed for you.
How do I get a lawyer?
Call or come in and speak with a Crisis Worker. Legal Aide is available for those who qualify, the Crisis Workers can help you find out if you would qualify and how to navigate the process.
How do I pay for a lawyer if I don’t qualify for legal aide?
There are 2hr Free Legal forms available to help people who do not qualify for Legal Aide to get legal information. There is also a Family Legal Information Clinic (FLIC) you can attend at the Court House where you can speak with a Legal Aide worker who can help you.
How do I get ahold of my Ontario Works worker?
Often getting through to your Ontario Works worker can be frustrating, if you feel you need some advocacy you can come in and a Crisis Worker can advocate on your behalf.
How do I deal with my children’s behaviours, they didn’t act like this at home
Often children act out what they are feeling or what they have witnessed. If your child is confused and frustrated with what’s going on they will often act out in public or at school so that someone will ask them what’s going on, especially if they don’t feel safe asking for help. Children who cannot express in words what they are feeling or feel like no one is listening to them will often act out in destructive or violent ways, they are asking for help in the only way they know how. The best way to find out what is going on is to ask them and really listen to what they are saying, if your child is not old enough to speak then you need to consider the environment they are living in and ask yourself if that’s the problem.
What do I do with my pets?
There is a program set up to assist women fleeing abusive relationships that need to find shelter for their pets. Please let us know when you call or come in to talk and we can help.
Do I need an appointment to come talk to someone?
There are always two crisis counsellors working 24 hrs. a day ready and available to speak with you.
What should I bring with me to the shelter?
Medication (for you and your children)
Identification (for you and your children)
Is there a cost to staying at WIC?
Please know that your stay at WIC is completely at no cost to you.
Is there somewhere to do my laundry?
WIC is set up with a complete laundry room for the use of residents. We also provide laundry detergent for your use.
Questions re Family Court process? Please see: http://lukesplace.ca/resources/#faq
Every five (5) years all Board of Directors and Staff meet to discuss and plan the next five (5) years for the Shelter. In an effort to remain transparent with our community and all those we serve we are making our Strategic Plan available.
If you would wish to know where we have come from, and our targeted plans for what we aim to accomplish in the next five (5) years please download our 2016-2021 Strategic Plan here.
Women In Crisis is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of 11 Community members. The Board of Directors strives to be diverse and inclusive representing the community we serve.
All Board Members are required to commit for a three (3) year term. Board Meetings occur the 4th Tuesday of every month (with the exception of December, July and August) Additional Sub-Committee meetings occur a minimum of once per fiscal or as needed.
If you feel passionate about the work that we do, and have the time to dedicate to the organization, please contact us to learn more or you can complete the application form below in accompaniment with your resume and cover letter – Attention to the Chair of the Membership/Nominating Committee.
All applications will be reviewed annually and only those selected to be interviewed will be contacted early spring.
If you would like additional information regarding the Board of Directors please view the Board of Directors’ documents here. Or you can visit our Shelter to request a Board Application Package.
Thank you for your interest in serving on our Board of Directors.