One evening, after a particularly difficult week, I asked my abuser to drive me to a hotel room. He was laughing, certain that I would call him back the next day to pick me up. When the door closed on his burst of laughter, I looked my assistance dog in the eyes to reassure her. I was so glad that she was there with me! I stared at the arms of my wheelchair for a long time, vowing to myself that my multiple sclerosis would not make me call him back because I needed his help. I chose to take a big leap into the void to change my life. This moment is forever etched in my memory, it is the turning point in my life.
Woman | Survivor | 44 years old
Last year, I spent 3 months in a shelter. I had called SOS from my car one night I was out with the kids because the tension was too high in the house. I just couldn't take it anymore, I was going to crack. At first I was really stressed out, but the shelter workers were so nice. I slept for 3 days... that's when I realized I was exhausted. The more time went by, the more I saw the violence clearly, all the psychological violence I had endured on a daily basis and honestly, I was really surprised... and relieved because I had help. Now I have my home, with my children. It's not always easy because the legal proceedings are still underway, but my counsellor is there if I need to talk, and she accompanies me in my efforts. It helps me move forward.
Woman | Survivor | 39 years old
My 3-year-old witnessed his father pulling my hair and yelling at me. He tried to stop it and got a slap from his father. I realized at that moment that my little guy thought it was his job to protect me from his father's violence.
Woman | Survivor | 34 years old
Frequently asked questions
Of course! When you contact SOS you will have a chance to talk with someone who will help you see more clearly into your situation. You don't have to be certain that what's going is in fact, violence. Regardless of the situation that is causing concern with your partner, SOS is there to help you connect with the resources that can assist and support you in figuring it out.
We are very familiar with the experiences of victims of intimate partner violence and know that the decision to leave or stay with a violent partner is not an easy one. It involves numerous issues, including safety, and it's a decision that can only be made by the person directly involved in the situation. Therefore, we never exert pressure of any kind, whether to leave or to stay in a relationship.
A victim who does not want to leave a violent partner can still obtain assistance and support of various kinds. For instance, even if she does not want to go to a shelter, she can have receive services on an eternal basis and gain access to a safe-space where she can discuss her situation, be understood, rebuild her self-esteem and self-confidence and regain a sense of her own strength. This will improve her quality of life even though she is still living in the violent situation. She can also join a support group, get assistance in her role as a parent, receive material and food assistance, etc.
Therefore, it is completely appropriate for a conjugal violence victim who has decided to stay with her partner to contact SOS violence conjugale for support.
When you contact SOS violence conjugale, you don't have to commit to taking any action. We know that every situation is different and that many issues are at stake and make decisions very difficult. There is no «one» path when dealing with intimate partner violence. One «solution» can be helpful in one situation and harmful in another. We will be there to offer you our understanding and resources that can accompany you according to your needs and wishes.
Of course. SOS violence conjugale's services are provided to anyone who is concerned about a situation of domestic violence, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, age, ethnic background, etc.
First, it is important to know that no matter when you call SOS violence conjugale you will never get an answering machine. All calls are answered immediately by a female worker.
Callers will be warmly received and the worker will immediately make sure that the caller is safe. If the caller is not safe, the worker offers different strategies to minimize the danger. The worker will not make any decisions for the caller ; her role is to offer possibilities and support the caller in her decisions.
If the caller is safe at the moment, our worker will assess her current needs. Victims of intimate partner violence may have multiple needs such as shelter, information, to express themselves, be supported in taking action, legal, material or food assistance, support in dealing with their children, etc. Once the need has been identified, our worker will search for the appropriate resource and then transfer the caller directly to that resource (shelter, external services, women's centre, etc.). With SOS violence conjugale, victims of intimate partner violence have access to a wide variety of resources by dialing just one number.
They can call SOS as often as needed, whether it's during the relationship, at the moment of separation, and even many years later.
Shelters are designed to welcome you and your children. They are warm places, designed to promote the comfort of the residents but also that of their children. There is a playroom and specialized counsellors to welcome and support children exposed to intimate partner violence. When you contact us to have access to a shelter, we will ask you a few questions related to your children: their number, their age and their special needs (crib, etc.). We will have this information on hand when we search for shelter for you and your family.
The presence of a pet is one of the many issues one may face when leaving an violent relationship. Unfortunately, the majority of shelters cannot accept pets, due to several health and safety constraints for other residents, workers and the animal itself. On the other hand, some shelters are able to accept some pets and SOS violence conjugale is currently working to develop alternatives to meet this need. Call us and we can explore different possibilities with you. Your pet is part of the family and we understand that its safety is important.
Our services are offered throughout Quebec and are also available to Quebecers outside the province who are seeking help where they are, or who wish to be put in touch with a counsellor in Quebec.
The 1-800-363-9010 line is accessible only for calls made from Quebec.
If you are elsewhere in Canada or abroad, you can call us toll-free at 514-873-9010 or use our chat, text message or email services.