If you are in an emergency situation, requiring immediate assistance, call 9-1-1.
Community support for victims of crime and people in crisis
Victims of crime and tragic circumstances
Victim Services of Nipissing District is a non-profit, charitable organization located in North Bay that provides free and confidential short-term crisis support to victims of crime, tragic circumstance and disaster. Specially trained crisis responders are available to provide emotional support, practical assistance and referrals to community agencies. Staff and volunteers work in partnership with local police, fire and emergency services to ensure persons affected by crime, tragedy and disaster receive immediate support and assistance. For more information, call 705-472-2649.
Victims of domestic violence
Nipissing Transition House is dedicated to ending violence against women and the toll it takes on families and our community. It provides safe shelter, crisis and support counselling, information and referrals, confidentially and without judgment. Women can call anonymously. 24-Hour Crisis Line: 705-476-2429 (TTY 705-476-9503).
Victims of sexual violence
The Amelia Rising Sexual Assault Centre of Nipissing works to empower and provide a voice for women and the communities in which they live in order to eliminate violence against women and children, create social change regarding issues of equality and justice, develop, apply and increase awareness of anti-oppressive approaches and provide healing from sexual violence. For more information, call 705-840-2403. 24-hour Crisis Line: 705-476-3355
Homelessness prevention and housing for people in crisis
The Crisis Centre in North Bay assists persons in personal crisis by providing temporary room and board, care, rehabilitation and other necessary services. For more information, call 705-472-6204.
Low Income People Involvement of Nipissing (LIPI) assists low income and vulnerable individuals and families with a menu of services in order to prevent homelessness and assist those at risk of homelessness.
The District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board provides housing, childcare, and social assistance programs, such as Ontario Works. For more information, call 705-474-2151.
Support for people in a mental health crisis
A mental health crisis is the onset of an emotional disturbance or situational distress involving a sudden breakdown of an individual’s ability to cope. The North Bay Regional Health Centre's Crisis Intervention program is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week to provide mental health assessments, support and referrals. 24-Hour Crisis Line: 705-495-8198.
The Canadian Mental Health Association, Nipissing Branch is dedicated to building a community which accepts people with mental illness and promotes mental health. The CMHA provides a variety of services such as social recreation, housing, case management and outreach, justice, and mental health promotion, information and education for people living with psychiatric disabilities. It also provides mental health information to the community. For more information, call 705-474-1299.
Nipissing Mental Health Housing and Support Services enhances the lives of people with a serious mental illness by providing community support services and affordable housing that promotes independent living in our community. For more information, call 705-476-4088.
People for Equal Partnership in Mental Health (PEP) is made up of a cross-section of people who either have used or are currently using mental health services. The use of mental health services can range from help received at home, to help received at Psychiatric and General Hospitals. What these people have in common is the fact that they have lived with the difficulties, frustrations, and stigma that comes with a psychiatric diagnosis. For more information, call 705-494-4774.
Ranked 2nd out of 119 friendship centres across Canada for its programs and community engagement as well as other criteria, the North Bay Indian Friendship Centre received a Friendship Centre of Excellence Award at the National Association of Friendship Centres’ annual general meeting in 2015. The North Bay Indian Friendship Centre provides youth, children, family, health, legal, education and employment programs for members of the Indigenous community. For more information, visit the centre at 980 Cassells Street or call 705-472-2811.
The Community Counselling Centre of Nipissing's Centre of Friends provides clients with an opportunity to join in both structured and unstructured recreational and social activities designed to improve life skills, learn coping techniques and develop community awareness and interpersonal skills in an informal environment. For more information, call 705-474-0518.
Counselling services and support for people in crisis
The Community Counselling Centre of Nipissing provides professional counselling services and community programs to individuals, couples, and families. The Centre also has public education and consulting services available to community organizations and industry. Many of the services are free of charge. For more information, call 705-472-6515.
Hands TheFamilyHelpNetwork.ca is dedicated to improving the life experiences of families, children, youth, and developmentally challenged adults who need support and guidance, and provides services in mental health, autism, developmental disabilities, and the pre-natal to six years. For more information, call 705-476-2293.
Support for people with addictions
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. For more information, call 705-474-7940.
The North Bay Recovery Home is a long-term facility for men and women aged 16 and over with alcohol and/or drug dependencies who are seeking professional assistance on their journey to recovery. For more information, call 705-472-2873.
Support for persons living with HIV/AIDS or Hep C
The AIDS Committee of North Bay and Area assists and supports all persons infected or affected by HIV/AIDS and/or Hepatitis C to limit the spread of the viruses through education, awareness, outreach strategies and treatment. For more information, call 705-497-3560.
Victim/Witness Assistance Program
The Victim/Witness Assistance Program (V/WAP) is a free service offered by the Ministry of the
Attorney General (Northern Region) that provides information, assistance and support for certain victims and witnesses of crime.
Who can receive help under this program?
Services are provided on a priority basis to vulnerable victims and witnesses of violent crimes, such as domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, elder abuse, homicide and hate crimes. Help is also offered to victims with special needs, families of victims of homicide, and families of victims of traffic fatalities resulting in criminal charges.
When is the help offered?
After charges have been laid, the police or Crown attorney refers victims and witnesses to the program for help. For more information about the program, call 705-495-8339.
Domestic Violence - Frequently Asked Questions
What is an intimate relationship?
Intimate relationships include those between the opposite-sex and same-sex partners. These relationships vary in duration and legal formality, and include current and former dating, common-law and married couples. Intimate relationship sexual component may or may not include a sexual component in the relationship. Many dating relationships may be predicated on little or no sexual activity.
Note: There are other individuals within the household that may suffer domestic / family abuse. This information, however, focuses on abuse within intimate relationships.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence includes the use or threat of physical or sexual force, including emotional, or psychological abuse, or harassing/threatening behaviour directed between partners with whom there is (or has been) an intimate relationship.
Criminal Code offences include but are not limited to:
- Homicide Assault
- Sexual assault
- Threatening death or bodily harm
- Forcible confinement
- Break and enter
- Other property-related offences
With domestic violence, the offence can range in severity from a slap to a homicide.
These crimes are often part of a pattern of assaultive and/or controlling behaviour, such as economic control and social isolation. Threats can often include harming other family members, pets and property. The violence is used to intimidate, humiliate or frighten the victims and make them feel powerless.
Do charges always have to be laid?
It is the policy of the North Bay Police Service to place a high priority on responding to incidents of domestic violence and to conduct vigorous and complete investigations.
Guided by a mandatory charge policy, the North Bay Police Service will support victims through a coordinated community response designed to improve their quality of life. The Service will work in committee partnership with community agencies, service providers and other government agencies to achieve this goal.
The mandatory charge policy requires officers to lay charges in all incidents of domestic violence where reasonable grounds exist to do so.
What are reasonable grounds?
Reasonable grounds are a set of circumstances which would satisfy an ordinary, cautious and prudent person that there is reason to believe an offence has been committed. The belief must go beyond mere suspicion.
Reasonable grounds can be established by obtaining witness statements, the existence of physical injuries and/or other physical evidence such as damaged or broken furniture or other signs of a disturbance.
What happens if the police are called?
Police may be involved in the following manner:
- As a result of a 9-1-1 call
- You report it to the police by telephone or in person
- A witness to an event may also contact the police
- Responding officers will conduct a thorough investigation and a report will be submitted
- If the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has occurred, the suspect will be arrested and a charge or charges may be laid
- If the suspect is not present, attempts will be made to locate and arrest the accused
- If the accused can not be found, an arrest warrant will be obtained. The victim will be advised once the suspect has been arrested.
It is the police who lay charges not the victims of the domestic violence.
What happens when the police lay a charge(s)?
Following an arrest, the accused may be released on a form called an Undertaking or Recognizance. This means that the police place the accused on conditions that you would be notified of and that the accused must obey while awaiting trial.
These conditions often include no contact with the victim and not to attend the residence of the victim even if the residence is the matrimonial home or shared residence.
The police may decide to hold the accused for a bail hearing.
The victim does not have to attend the bail hearing. In certain circumstances, however, the officer may request that you attend the court for a bail hearing. The court may decide to hold the accused in custody until the trial or may release the accused on conditions similar to those of an Undertaking.
The victim will be notified of the release of the accused and of the conditions that are in place.
When a charge has been laid, the case will be prosecuted by a lawyer from the Crown Attorney's office at no cost to the victim.
Once a charge has been laid, neither the police nor a victim can withdraw the charge.
If the case goes to trial, you will be required to attend court and, if necessary, give evidence.
What happens if an accused is convicted?
If the person is convicted of a crime they might receive a custodial (jail) sentence and/or be placed on a Probation Order.
You may feel that certain conditions need to be in place to keep you safe such as no contact and staying away from your residence, work and school. You will have the opportunity to complete a victim impact statement prior to sentencing. Assistance will be provided by the Victim Witness Assistance Program.
You may also receive a copy of the Probation Order outlining the conditions imposed upon the accused.
It is a Criminal Offence for the accused to breach (break) any of the conditions outlined in the Probation Order and breaches should be reported to the police.
What is the victim witness assistance program (VWAP)?
The Victim Witness Assistance Program, under the Ministry of the Attorney General, serves victims who are involved in a judicial process as a result of being a victim of a crime
It provides information about the criminal and family court systems, court accompaniment where requested, relays information to the office of the Crown Attorney and undertakes victim advocacy. It also informs victims of the outcome of hearings and monitors the processes.
What else happens when the police are involved?
Your safety and that of any children will be discussed with you.
If you require a place of safety or a shelter, an officer will advise or assist you.
You will be asked to provide a statement about the incident, preferably on video.
If you have suffered an injury, photographs of the injury will be taken with your consent.
Photographs may also be taken a few days later as more bruising occurs.
Police may take photographs of other evidence such as destruction of furniture, the home, vehicle or other damage done.
If there are children in the household that witnessed the abuse they may be interviewed. This is done with great care and skill to minimize further stress on the children.
The Children's Aid Society will be notified of the occurrence so that they may offer you assistance.
Whether or not charges are laid, the victim will be given the opportunity to speak with a trained Victim Services Worker from Victim Services of Nipissing District who can offer immediate emotional support and practical assistance and referrals to various services in the community such as shelters and counselling. Victim Services can also meet with the individual to assess immediate safety concerns, longer-term safety planning and eligibility for limited financial assistance. They are available 24 hours a day through police referral, and regular business hours for self-referral. For further information on the services provided by Victim Services of Nipissing District, visit www.vsnd.ca
Will my immigration status be affected if I'm not a citizen or landed immigrant?
Your immigration status in Canada will NOT automatically be affected by police intervention for domestic violence.
If you have any questions concerning your status, call the Canadian Immigration Office Inquiries Line at 1-888-242-2100 or get independent legal advice from a lawyer specializing in Immigration Law.
What if I have a child custody dispute?
If you and the accused have children together, you are both entitled to custody of them. If you cannot agree on a custody arrangement, you may apply to the Family Court for interim (temporary) or full custody.
The police are often called to enforce court orders dealing with parents' rights of access to their children.
Even though there may be an order in place allowing for visitation, the police do not have the power to intervene and enforce the order unless specifically directed by the court to do so.
In order to take action such as apprehending and delivering a child, police will need a valid (i.e.: stamped or certified copy) court order that clearly authorizes them to take action. If in doubt, police may seek clarification from the Family Court.
If one party refuses to grant access to children, then you need to go back to the court that issued the order. Unless an order containing specific information is obtained, the police are only able to respond to incidents where access is denied and to keep the peace.
What if I think charges should be laid but the police don't?
When police officers DO NOT form reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has been committed and no charges are laid, the victim of the crime may make a private complaint if they disagree.
Individuals may go before a Justice of the Peace to request that a charge be laid on their behalf.
You will be required to provide a police occurrence number to the Justice of the Peace.
What is a peace bond?
A peace bond is a signed promise, in writing, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour. If you are afraid that your partner will hurt you or your children, the family property, or pets, but you do not want to call the police or the police have not charged him, you can apply for a peace bond.
You must ask for a peace bond from a Justice of the Peace, and be able to explain why you need it. You and your partner would have to appear in court and a hearing may be necessary.
If issued (one year period), breaching a condition of a peace bond is a criminal offence.
What is an exclusive possession order?
If you are legally married, or share property ownership with the accused, you may apply for an order from the Family Court which may give you exclusive possession of the matrimonial home. This will allow you to keep your partner off the property and gives you the right to keep your partner out of the home.
Seek legal advice to obtain an Exclusive Possession Order.