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Frequently Asked Questions
No you do not have to leave your abuser. We respect your decisions and your journey. Counsellors will talk with you and give you resources that you may find helpful. We respect the rights and decisions of all women; only you know what is right for you.
Alternatives for women is a feminist agency that empowers women through client-led counselling which supports women in making their own choices. We do not require you to report your abuser to police. If you choose to do so, AFW can support you through that process.
We have experience with the legal issues that confront a woman dealing with abuse, however we are not lawyers and cannot give you legal advice. We can support you in your legal journey by:
- Directing you to the proper legal resources, including lawyers who are familiar with domestic abuse issues.
- Providing transportation (if required) to legal appointments.
- Court accompaniment as emotional support.
- Offering a safe confidential place to discuss what you are going through.
There is no charge for counselling. We provide Violence Against Women Counselling. If you need support beyond what we offer, we will refer you to other counselling services as appropriate (Mental Health, Addictions etc.) There is no limit on the number of sessions you can access; Alternatives for Women will support you for as long as you need.
The safest way to make contact with us is in a way that you cannot be tracked. Please click here for information on covering your tracks: Cover Your Tracks – Quinte Coordinating Committee Against Violence (qccav.ca) and/or Technology Safety – BC Society of Transition Houses (bcsth.ca)
- Using a personal cell phone or trusted friend or relative's phone, you can call our 24/7 Crisis Line, 613-476-2787, or message our 24/7 Text Line, 613-847-1197.
- Using a personal computer or tablet you can webchat through our website with an AFW staff member, or leave a message when we are not online. You can also email us through our website, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a message to us through Facebook or Instagram.
Our priority is your safety! When reaching out to us please indicate if your contact information is:
- Accessible only by you.
- Safe to call, text, or email.
- Safe to leave a message at.
For everyone’s safety staff, clients, residents, students, volunteers and outside contractors at Alternatives for Women must sign an Oath of Confidentiality. We take confidentially seriously as people’s lives may depend on it. If you are concerned there may be a conflict of interest with one of the staff, you can speak to our Executive Director who can address any concerns you may have including connecting you with another staff if necessary.
We have a Rural Outreach Violence Against Women Counsellor who can meet with you anywhere in Prince Edward County. If it is not safe to meet in your home, then she will meet you in an alternative space. You can discuss any concerns with her.
We have extensive Safety Planning knowledge and tools to use to help keep you safe, including Safety Planning before you leave, while you are still living with an abuser and/or after you leave an abuser.
Occasionally the Children’s Aid will request that someone contact us if they believe our services will be helpful. It is at your own discretion if you contact Alternatives for Women. We believe in a woman’s right to choose. If you feel our services would be helpful to you and you meet our mandate, then we would be happy to support you. Any information you provide to us would be confidential and we would not share anything without your consent. There may be instances where we have a Duty to Report under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act. Section 125 of the CYFSA states that the public, including professionals who work with children, must promptly report any suspicions that a child is or may be in need of protection to a children's aid society. The CYFSA defines the phrase "child in need of protection" and explains what must be reported to a society. It includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, and risk of harm. More information can be found here: Reporting Child Abuse & Neglect It’s Your Duty Your responsibilities under the Child and Family Services Act (gov.on.ca)
When someone has left an abusive situation and goes into a women’s abuse Shelter, that is considered First Stage. Women can stay a limited time in these shelters—usually 6 weeks. Second Stage Housing was developed to provide women with the next step forward—a physically safe place to get many parts of her life organized such as finances, children, work, schooling, emotional healing and legal issues dealt with, as often it is hard for women to find housing after all of the upheaval in their lives. Second Stage is also called Transitional Housing where women and their children can stay for up to one year. At Alternatives for Women, we call our Transitional Housing Program the “Kiosan” Program—which means “to choose.”
Your children are able to live with you in our Second Stage Housing Units, full time or part time, depending on your custody agreement. Pets are welcomed in our 1 and 2 bedroom units on a case by case basis. Unfortunately we are not able to accommodate pets in our studio units. If you can not bring your pet, and are looking for a safe place for your pet, information on the SafePet Program for survivors fleeing domestic violence can be found here: SafePet Ontario | Coordinating foster care for the pets of survivors fleeing domestic violence in Ontario
Alternatives for Women has private studio, 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom units which include a private bathroom. Studio units have a kitchenette; 1 and 2 bedroom units have full kitchens.
One of the most important things you can do for your loved one who is experiencing domestic violence is to listen. Don't try and be a therapist. Don't ask questions or pry for details, just be a friend and listen. The most powerful statement you can make is: I believe you. You can find more information on how to support loved ones here: For Friends and Family – ShelterSafe
We encourage all victims to erase their browser history and use a computer at a local library or through a friend. Researching information about domestic violence, how to leave an abusive relationship, looking up housing information, or safety planning may alert your abuser and increase the risk of danger.