Component: Violence Against Women

Service objectives

  • To provide 24/7 telephone assistance, information (e.g., rights, safety, violence prevention strategies) and referrals to appropriate services for women who have experienced, or are at risk of experiencing, abuse and their dependents
  • To support the development of personal safety strategies or plans for women and their dependents, who have experienced abuse, in order to confirm their immediate safety and help them avoid further abuse
  • Callers may also be neighbours, family members or friends of a woman in crisis seeking assistance to manage a crisis situation
  • To address the particular challenges of accessing services in rural, remote and isolated communities in Ontario

Service objectives specific to Talk4Healing

  • To provide 24/7 culturally appropriate telephone counselling to Indigenous women across Ontario and specifically in remote and isolated communities with limited access to local services
  • To deliver crisis support, information and referral services to survivors and other members of Indigenous communities impacted by violence against Indigenous women
  • To provide services in Indigenous languages
  • To promote awareness of Talk4Healing throughout Ontario

Service description

  • Services are for women, aged 16 years or older, calling to request assistance and support in dealing with abuse by their partners (including physical, sexual or emotional abuse), significant others, other relationships (e.g., landlords, caregivers, someone else in a position of authority), or strangers (e.g., sexual assault).

Talk4Healing additional serves

  • Indigenous men whether survivors and/or abusers living in Ontario who require information and referral to other services in their communities 
  • Concerned family/friends and community members living in Ontario who require information and referral to other services in their communities
  • Non-Indigenous women who require information and referrals to other VAW services in their communities


Safety planning

  • Services include the development of safety strategies or plans for women and their dependents
  • A safety plan identifies the steps a woman and their dependents can take to increase their safety and helps to prepare them for the possibility of further violence. It should include, but not be limited to:
    • Emergency escape plans for various situations (e.g., going to court, workplace, home)
    • A list of emergency and resource numbers; and
    • A list of items to be stored in a safe place (e.g., ID, clothes, etc.)
  • Safety plans reflect the woman’s immediate personal circumstances, needs and choices. The plan will be comprehensive, concrete, and include safety strategies and referrals to appropriate services

Services provided

  • Toll-free phone line available throughout Ontario, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for confidential, anonymous crisis calls
  • Services are provided via telephone and TTY devices
  • Assistance to callers to manage immediate crisis situations
  • Development of safety strategies or plans for women and their dependents
  • Provision of information on rights, options and available services
  • Referral or assisting callers in accessing appropriate services
  • Services will be client-centered based on individuals’ needs and preferences
  • Wherever possible, individuals will be connected to the programs and services available in their communities or surrounding areas, including available counselling services
  • Self-identified individuals seeking services for themselves will be referred to Fem’aide (for Francophone women), Talk4Healing (for Indigenous women) or the Assaulted Women’s Help Line according to the caller’s preference

Services provided specific to Talk4Healing

  • In addition to English, services will be available in the three predominant Indigenous languages in Ontario (Ojibway, Cree and Oji-Cree), and other Indigenous languages as requested, either directly through Talk4Healing or through a secondary service
  • Services available to Indigenous men, abusers, and concerned family, children and dependents, friends and community members will include
  • Information and referral to appropriate community services (including, where possible, Indigenous cultural/holistic programs and services; The agency will market the helpline to increase awareness of the services provided

Services excluded

  • The Provincial Crisis Line program excludes the following services:
  • Calls related to administration, or calls from other TPRs, funders, etc.; and
  • Crisis phone support provided as part of other services, such as local emergency shelter crisis lines

Program/service features

Program goals

  • Increase the safety of women and their dependents
  • Provide timely, reliable and accurate information and service referral to women fleeing violent relationships
  • Support women to understand their rights, safety planning and violence prevention strategies; and
  • Assist with the health, safety and well-being needs of the woman

Program goals specific to Talk4Healing

  • To increase access to culturally appropriate VAW services and supports for Indigenous women who have experienced violence and their dependents across Ontario
  • To respond to the high rates of violence experienced by Indigenous women

Ministry Expectations

Referral criteria and protocols with emergency service responders will be developed in order to immediately connect individuals requiring urgent emergency assistance to the appropriate emergency responders (police, medical, etc.).

Protocols will be established to outline emergency management procedures to ensure services will be able to continue operations during an emergency situation that may occur at the location (e.g., if the agency experiences a flood and staff are unable to access the agency).

Staff qualifications specific to Talk4Healing

  • Program staff will respect and be sensitive to the social, linguistic and cultural diversity of Indigenous communities
  • Program staff will be trained and/or qualified to effectively respond to issues including but not limited to violence against Indigenous women (emotional, physical, sexual abuse), suicide, intergenerational trauma, mental health, addictions, and the isolation and unique circumstances experienced by some Indigenous women living in remote/isolated communities
  • In addition to the above qualifications, program staff providing counselling services will also have post-secondary education and/or relevant experience. For clinical counselling, staff are also required to have a degree in social work or a related field
  • Program staff will be trained and/or qualified to provide referrals to Indigenous cultural/holistic programs and services
  • Program staff will have knowledge of the types of programs and services available across Ontario for Indigenous women, children and dependents, men and abusers

Protocols and partnerships specific to Talk4Healing

  • The agency may partner with other organizations to support service delivery and/or a marketing strategy
  • The agency will develop relationships and linkages with existing service providers and Indigenous communities in Ontario to further enhance service coordination and collaboration
  • Partnership agreement and protocols with women’s shelters in southern Ontario and across the province will be developed to form a community network of support for the Help Line (including Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses (OAITH) and Aboriginal Shelters of Ontario (ASOO)
  • Referral criteria and protocols with existing service providers serving male survivors and abusers across Ontario will be developed in order to maximize the effectiveness of services for Indigenous men
  • Expanded existing translation services to include additional Indigenous languages

Reporting requirements

The following service data will be reported on at an Interim and Final stage. Please refer to your final agreement for report back due dates and targets.

Service Data NameDefinition

Provincial Crisis Lines: Ministry- funded Agency Expenditures

Total ministry-funded expenses for the Transfer Payment Recipient to administer and/or deliver this program in the reporting year (cumulative).

# of Interactions: Provincial Crisis Lines

The number of occasions when services are provided by paid staff to individuals. The service may be provided by paid staff or interpreters. The interaction must be documented. This excludes: calls with volunteers without any paid staff present; Administrative calls or calls with landlord, shelters, medical professionals, etc., on behalf of individuals where clients are not present; and Hang-ups without an opportunity to provide service. This is ONLY applicable to the Assaulted Women’s Helpline, Fem’Aide and Talk4Healing.