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Victim Services In Ontario

Archived Backgrounder

Victim Services In Ontario

Ministry of the Attorney General

Ontario is a leader in victim services, offering help to thousands of victims of violent crime across the province each year.  A broad range of supports and services offer victims the help they need when they need it most.

Helping victims right after the incident:

Victim Support Line

Staff at the Victim Support Line 1-888-579-2888 (toll-free) and 416-314-2447 (Toronto) offer free information and referrals to victim services to people across Ontario in 14 languages.  Services
are available between 8 am and 10 pm, seven days a week.  This is not a crisis line. 

Victim Quick Response Program

This program covers the cost of immediate services for victims of violent crime who cannot afford them, including: 

  • Immediate, short-term counseling services
  • Funeral expenses for victims of homicide
  • Immediate emergency expenses, such as childcare or transportation.

Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Services

Right after an incident, teams of trained volunteers offer short-term help to victims, including compassion, understanding and referrals to community supports and services.  Help is provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week in 48 communities across Ontario.

Early Victim Contact Services

These services help victims of domestic violence faster.  Within 24 hours of an incident being reported, Victim Witness Assistance Program staff contact victims to find out what help and referrals they need.

Bail Safety Program

In 10 locations across the province the specially trained staff of this program conduct in-depth interviews with victims of domestic violence before bail is set, so that Crown prosecutors can provide better evidence at bail hearings. This is a time of high risk for victims. 

Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centres

Victims and survivors of sexual assault who are 16 years of age or older are eligible for a variety of counselling, information and referral services from community-based Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centres.  The services include:

  • Accompanying a victim to court, a hospital or police station
  • Supportive peer counselling services (both one-to-one and group)
  • Sexual violence education and training for professionals and members of the public
  • Information and referral services.

Counselling for Victims of Sexual Exploitation on the Internet

This special counselling program, available by calling 416-326-2430 or 416-235-3615, or by e-mail at ice@ontario.ca, is available for kids under the age of 18 who are sexually assaulted on the Internet and for their families.  Victims can be referred to the Internet Child Exploitation Counselling Program by someone they trust, or can ask for help on their own.

Longer-term help for victims of crime:

Victim/Witness Assistance Program

Victims and witnesses across the province - more than 41,000 last year alone - get information, help referrals and support from this program throughout the criminal court process. 

Child Victim/Witness Centres

Child victims and witnesses can get help from the Victim/Witness Assistance Program. The government also funds eight specialized Child Victim/Witness Centres across the province to help children get the help they need and to prepare for court.

Supportlink Program

Supportlink offers help with safety planning and special emergency cell phones to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking in 20 Ontario communities.

Domestic Violence Court Program

This program provides victims of domestic violence with support from specially trained teams of Crown prosecutors, Victim/Witness Assistance Program staff, police, and language interpreters. It operates all across the province and is the biggest program of its kind in Canada.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

Victims of violent crime in Ontario can apply to this Board for financial compensation.

Guns & Gangs Task Force

Twelve victim/witness staff work with victims and witnesses from the start of a case, supporting guns and gangs prosecutions.

Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic

The government funds a special legal service for assaulted women at this Toronto multi-service agency.

Supporting new victim services:

The government works with many agencies and organizations that look for new and better ways to help victims.

Community Grant Program

This program provided more than $15 million over three years for new projects to help victims of crime across the province.

Community Hate-Crime Response Grants Program

This special program funded 23 community organizations for anti-hate crime projects that work toward eliminating and preventing hate crimes and racism.  The projects will be completed by the end of 2008.



Law and Safety