The City of Toronto has launched a new program to raise awareness and connect residents to local support programs for those facing family violence.
Announced by Mayor John Tory, the city has partnered with community agencies to develop and implement what they have called #HereToHelpTO, to raise awareness and connect residents to the various social service agencies, programs, and supports that are still available to children, youth and families experiencing violence or abuse during this time.
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“Since the declaration of the pandemic many people have been spending more time at home with their families. For some this has been a positive and very exciting experience,” Tory said. “But for many others however home has not been a safe place, for many reasons, including intimate partner violence and child abuse.”
By connecting residents to one of 14 listed organizations, victims can receive services such as crisis counselling, emotional support, safety planning, information, and referrals completely free of charge. These include Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Victim Services Toronto, Kids Help Phone, and more.
According to the city, #HereToHelpTO will not mean new funding for these programs, rather consolidates the resources into one place to help victims and families find help.
So far, Toronto Police Service has not reportedly experienced an increase in reports of child abuse, intimate partner violence, or elder abuse during the pandemic, however, according to the mayor, multiple hotlines in the region have been receiving an increase in calls relating to family violence.
“Many don’t call the police,” the mayor said. “They don’t see the police as the answer to their fears and they don’t know who else to call.”
Here are the numbers provided by the City of Toronto:
Intimate Partner & Domestic Violence
• Assaulted Women’s Helpline – 416-863-0511
• Toronto Rape Crisis Centre – 416-597-8808
• Women’s College Hospital – 416-323-6040
• Family Services Toronto – 416-595-9618
• Toronto Police Service – 911 (Emergency) or 416-808-2222 (Non-Emergency Number)
• Victim Services Toronto – 416-808-7066
• Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter – 416-746-3701, ext. 0 or TTY 416-746-3716
• Kids Help Phone – 1-800-668-6868
• BOOST CYAC – 415-515-1100
• Children’s Aid Society of Toronto – 416-924-4646
• Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto – 416-395-1500
• Jewish Family & Child Service of Greater Toronto – 416-638-7800
• Native Child & Family Services of Toronto – 416-969-8510
• Toronto Police Service – 911 (Emergency) or 416-808-2222 (Non-Emergency)
Those looking for help can access the resources online. The city even offers information to help users delete the history of visiting the page, if needed.