Find out about Services for Family Violence & Abuse

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Victim Services Programs are available across BC and provide free information, referrals, emotional support, safety planning and practical help to victims of crime.

To find a victim service program in your area, contact VictimLink BC at 1.800.563.0808. Ask for a referral to a program in your community where people speak your language and are familiar with your culture.

Counselling services

Counselling and other services provide help and practical support for victims of family violence and abuse in a safe, supportive environment. To find counselling services in your area, call VictimLink BC at 1.800.563.0808, or visit the BC Ministry of Justice website on “Violence Against Women Counselling and Outreach” programs.

Transition and safe houses

These are safe places you can go to if you are being abused. These houses are open 24 hours a day and are free.

The staff provide legal information and emotional support. They can help you understand your options, such as how to continue to stay safe. When you go to a safe house or transition house, the abuser will not know where you are. You can take your children with you.

There are three types of housing:

  • Transition houses provide safe, temporary shelter with support services. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Safe houses provide safe, temporary short-term shelter and support services.
  • Second-stage houses help women who have left abusive relationships make plans for the future. Women and their children usually stay in a second-stage house for 6-18 months.

If you and your children need to leave the family home because of abuse, call VictimLink BC at 1.800.563.0808 to find out about transition houses or safe houses in your community. A list of transition houses, safe houses and second-stage housing is available on the BC Housing website.

Develop a safety plan

A safety plan is the steps you can take to protect yourself and your children. It is difficult to think clearly in an emergency. If you make plans before a crisis, you will be prepared and know how to get help in an emergency. When you have a safety plan, you have some control over your life and your decisions.

You can develop your own safety plan or get free help from a victim services worker.

Your safety plan might include:

  • where you and your children would go if you had to leave,
  • keeping important papers, such as birth certificates, passports and immigration papers in a safe place, and
  • putting some money and a set of your house and car keys in a safe place.

Your plan may include:

  • packing and leaving a suitcase with a trusted friend,
  • teaching your children to call 911 or the police for help,
  • choosing a code word for your children and friends, so they will know when you are in danger and can call for help, and
  • talking to a lawyer regarding decisions about parenting and property.

For more on safety planning, see the Help, services and more information section of this wikibook.

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by People's Law School, 2014.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence Workplace Bullying and Harassment © People's Law School is, except for the images, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.
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