Component: Victim Services

Legislation: Ministry of Community and Social Services Act

Service description

The Province provides funding to Findhelp Information Services (the Recipient), for the provision of Information and Referral (I&R) Services for the Victim Support Line (VSL) and the Support Services for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Provincial Crisis and Referral Line (SSMSSA Line) victim services across the province, which may be accessed through the Victim Services Directory (VSD) on the Province’s website. The I&R service provides victims of crime with timely and relevant information about supports and services available in their community, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

People served

The VSL, VSD and SSMSSA Line are intended to deliver services to victims of crime throughout the province of Ontario.

Program/service features

The Recipient is responsible for the delivery of VSL, VSD and SSMSSA Line services/activities to Participants living in the catchment area.

Specific service provided

I&R Services

The Recipient will provide victims of crime with direct access to an I&R counsellor/specialist through the VSL, 24 hours per day.

The service delivery requirements regarding I&R services are set out below

Telephone services

The Recipient will

  • Provide I&R services via telephone for victims across the province, including those who identify as male survivors of sexual abuse and non-binary gender identity survivors of sexual abuse, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year in multiple languages
  • Provide information and respond to callers regarding services for victims of crime, including but not limited to services funded by the Province
  • Provide an active offer of services in both official languages, and multi-lingual services based on in-house staffing and interpreters, as required
  • Ensure that the initial greeting to callers specifies whether the caller has reached the VSL English Line, the VSL French Line or the SSMSSA Line
  • Provide callers to the SSMSSA Line who are in crisis with a warm transfer to a crisis service for additional assistance

Facilities/hours of operation

The Recipient shall supply the equipment, materials, supplies, and trained live staff, to provide I&R services, as well as justice information related to the court process outlined in Justice scripts on the Province’s website, on a 24 hours per day, 7 days-a- week, holidays inclusive, basis, for all callers to the Province’s VSL and SSMSSA Line.

Resource database

The Recipient shall demonstrate ownership of, or access to, an up-to-date consolidated province-wide database that includes resources that provide supports and services to victims in the province of Ontario. The Recipient shall

  • Collect new data, including exclusion and inclusion criteria Index and classify data, including the search methods
  • Maintain/update its database to ensure a 100% update rate within a 12-month cycle (one week for updates provided by the Province)


The Recipient will ensure compliance with the following

  • AIRS Standards and Quality Indicators for Professional Information and Referral - version 8.0 (January 2016)
  • Ownership of all permits and licences required during the term of any resulting contract (e.g. software licences)

Service levels

The Recipient will ensure that no more than

  • 20% of incoming calls wait longer than one (1) minute to speak with an I&R Counsellor once the call has been sequenced in the Automated Call Distribution (ACD) system
  • 2% of incoming calls are kept waiting for more than three (3) minutes once the call has been sequenced in the ACD system

Qualifications of I&R counsellors/specialists

The Recipient will ensure that

  • All staff answering calls directed from the VSL are appropriately trained and accredited to be a critical point of contact for victims and/or family and friends of victims, to listen to their situations, and provide information and appropriate referrals to local victim's supports and services


The Recipient will

  • Provide training opportunities for Provincial staff with regards to 211 Taxonomy at the Province's request
  • Allow Provincial staff or external training providers to train I&R Specialists on relevant topics as determined by the Recipient and/or as directed by the Province

Provincial database

The Recipient will maintain a provincial database to support the VSD on the Province’s website and I&R services calls through the VSL and the SSMSSA Line.

The service delivery requirements regarding the VSD are set out below

Database services

The Recipient will maintain a current, provincial database for all victim services across the province in order to provide victims of crime with timely and relevant information about supports and services available in their community. The Recipient will also provide research support and data services, as requested by the Province.


The Recipient will provide ongoing enhancements to its provincial victim services database to ensure comprehensive, current, and bilingual contact information for all priority services, including

  • Editorial research to confirm and update information on 600 key French language records
  • Outsourced translation and in-house proofreading by bilingual editor
  • Editorial review of 2,300 key English records to ensure consistency and form for public presentation

Ongoing development/revisions

The Recipient will coordinate with the Province's developers to allow for

  • The provision of information required for the construction of search strings
  • Incorporation of the Province's web template, and any subsequent updates to the same, into the display of search results

Hosting and maintenance

The Recipient will host search requests from users of the Province’s website and revision(s) of search criteria as required and ensure

    • Continued access to the Findhelp application for processing and display of search results
    • Notification to the Province if there are changes to the application that will affect the presentation or functionality of the portal
    • Daily updates of the Recipient’s database to ensure that all search results are current
    • Change weekly ETL (extract, transform and load) to maintain all current and pre- build new tables as required
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    Ministry expectations

    French language services

    In addition to the requirements set out above that apply to all programs, the Recipient must ensure that the VSD is available in English and French and contains appropriate up-to-date referrals to community resources for French speaking individuals.

    Outreach and public education

    The Recipient's public education activities will be directed at providing information to the general public or special sectors about the VSL, VSD and SSMSSA Line, and includes public speaking engagements, provision of training workshops to other professionals, presentations, response to media requests, and publications.

    Community liaison/development

    The Recipient will participate in activities to build cooperative and mutually supportive relationships with other community groups and organizations. Community liaison/development activities may include such things as networking, involvement with local community and provincial coordinating committees, development of local protocols, and identification of gaps in service.

    Program goals

    The goals of the VSL, VSD and SSMSSA Line are

    • To increase victims' access to information, community services and criminal justice system information through I&R counsellors/specialists and the online VSD
    • To increase access to crisis assistance for those who identify as male survivors of sexual abuse and non-binary gender identity survivors of sexual abuse and their families

    Reporting requirements

    Service data on ministry funded expenditures will be reported on at an Interim and Final stage. Please refer to your final agreement for report back due dates and targets.

    Quarterly service data will be reported through supplemental reports to the ministry.

    Service data nameDefinition

    Ministry-funded Agency Expenditures: Victim Support Line (VSL)/Victim Services Directory (VSD) and Support Services for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Crisis and Referral Line

    Total ministry-funded expenses for the Transfer Payment Recipient to administer and/or deliver the Victim Support Line/Victim Services Directory and Support Services for Male Survivors Line in the reporting year (cumulative).