Profile: Women’s House Serving Bruce and Grey
By Bernice Connell
The Canadian Women’s Foundation reports that ‘on any given day in Canada, more than 3,300 women (along with their 3,000 children) are forced to sleep in an emergency shelter to escape violence.’
It is a very difficult decision for women to make; leaving their homes and familiar surroundings, but is often a last resort to ensure their safety. For more than thirty years, Women’s House Serving Bruce & Grey has provided emergency shelter for women and their children who have experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse. The shelter provides a safe, secure, residential environment with support to help women plan for living violence-free lives.
The Second Stage Program offers independent living as women transition into the community. Secure Second Stage apartments are available in Kincardine, Port Elgin and Wiarton and women and their children can access this housing for up to a year.
Women’s House also offers confidential, toll free, support and information lines that are available 24hours a day.
Local Crisis Line: 519.396.9655
Toll Free: 1.800.265.3026
Sexual Assault Support Line: 1.866.578.5566
Other services available include Outreach Counseling, Sexual Assault Counselors and Child Witness Counselors. In addition to one to one support to women and children, these counselors provide advocacy and accompaniment for those involved with legal, medical, mental health, addictions and other programs.
In an effort to reduce isolation and barriers to service in rural Grey/Bruce, Outreach Counselors meet with women at various community spaces, virtually throughout the counties. Volunteer drivers are also available for women without transportation.
The Sexual Assault Services Program provides support to women sixteen years and older who have experienced sexual assault or abuse whether recent, in the past or in their current relationship. Survivors of sexual assault work to reduce the effects of the trauma on their lives and to understand that violence, unfortunately, is a societal problem and not something that happened just to them.
The Child Witness Counselors work with children who have witnessed family violence. Counselors meet with children one to one and facilitate group support for kids as well, usually in the schools they attend. It’s essential for kids to have a place to share what they’ve experienced, express their feelings and receive support. Group counseling is especially effective as kids’ feelings of isolation are reduced when with other kids who are also coping with witnessing abuse.
Through education and advocacy, Women’s House works toward the elimination of violence and strives to help build a community where all are respected, safe and valued.
For more information on Women’s House Serving Bruce & Grey, please visit our website: www.whsbg.on.ca and find us on social media at