Fem’aide, a provincial telephone helpline for Francophone women dealing with violence, has benefited the French Community in Ontario since 2006. This initiative, funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS), allows access to French language services by women throughout the province, in their own regions, by dialling a single phone number from anywhere in Ontario. Fem’aide is collectively managed by several organizations as follows : Maison d’amitié and the Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre jointly support women in Eastern Ontario, Centre Victoria pour femmes de Sudbury supports women in Northern Ontario, and Oasis Centre des femmes de Toronto supports women in the Southern Ontario.
Fem’aide offers French-speaking women who have experienced gender-based violence, support, information and referral to appropriate front-line services within their communities, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Fem’aide can also respond to requests for information made by family and friends of women who are victims of violence. The helpline’s main focus is to assist women who have experienced violence in an intimate relationship and women who have been sexually assaulted. Fem’aide uses a feminist approach empowering women to identify their own needs and to make their own informed decisions.
Fem’aide adheres to the following values and principles in all of its activities and services:
The feminist approach recognizes violence against women as a social problem rooted in the power inequality between men and women, in both social and private spheres of life. Feminist intervention also incorporates an analysis of cultural and social inequalities amongst women, supports women in their pursuits and looks to achieve social change. The underlying values of the feminist approach are equality, justice, respect, integrity, transparency and the sharing of information. Feminist intervention is a “way of being” that facilitates autonomy, openness, trust and mutual respect.
Fem’aide is one part of a continuum of services. Fem’aide supports existing French language services whenever they are available. Fem’aide serves as an entry point to other services.
Availability of French language services and access to them vary widely in different regions and communities throughout Ontario. Fem’aide workers take this reality into account and do provide support to callers who do not have access to local French resources. Callers to the helpline can expect that Fem’aide workers will listen, provide support and help them create a safety plan.
In order to ensure that French-speaking women have access to the services they need, Fem’aide networks with other service providers in the field of violence against women and with other Francophone community organizations.
Fem’aide is made possible through funding from the Ontario Government and the Trillium Foundation of Ontario, and the support of the Ontario Francophone community.
For services in English or other languages, call the Assaulted Women’s Helpline
1-866-863-0511 – TTY 1-866-863-7868