Ernestine’s COVID-19 Update

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  • Crisis 416.746.3701 / TTY 416.746.3716

Violence Against Women During the COVID-19 Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, countries and cities around the world have gone into lockdown. While total quarantine is of paramount importance in order to flatten the curve and protect people from getting infected, this has also put one specifically vulnerable group of people at more risk – those who are living with their abusers.

For many, especially women and children, being self-isolated with their abusive partners, family members, or others, means an increased risk of domestic violence or intimate partner violence, with no way out or escape during the quarantine. With added stress, anxiety, and negative financial situations, there is expected to be a rise in domestic abuse including verbal, emotional, or physical violence.

Should you or someone you know be experiencing abuse, control, harassment, or violence, please know that you do NOT have to remain home or self-isolate. You should not have to choose between the lesser of these two pandemics!

For help and support, please contact the Police at 911; the Assaulted Women’s Helpline (1.866.863.0511); or the Francophone Helpline (1-877-336-2433)!

We’re Still Open & We Need Your Help!

Thank you to each and every one of our supporters who reached out to Ernestine’s and was actively looking for ways to help and support us however they could. A true and heartfelt thank you to all our donors and benefactors who choose to stand by our sides and help us through these times!

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are all facing an unprecedented challenge.
Shelter life, which is never an easy one, is made even more difficult and challenging right now when feelings of uncertainty, fear, and anxiety are troubling the women and children who are staying with us.



The health, safety, and well-being of our clients and staff is a priority and we are following the lead of Ontario public health authorities with respect to our community support services. In light of this, we, as an organization, have had to entirely change the way we deliver our services – be that for our in-house clients, our outreach clients, or the shelter staff.

  • Essential staff and program counsellors continue to be on-site and remain available to support our in-house and outreach clients. Support staff are working from home.
  • We have also been urging them to stay in their private bedrooms and exercise physical distancing with the other residents at the shelter.
  • We continue to support our outreach clients by supplying them with food care packages, which serve as a temporary food relief to women and families from our community who are in great need and who might otherwise not be able to buy what they need.
  • We are continuing to operate our 24/7 crisis line and will support women calling us with support services such as safety planning. Our crisis line can be reached at 416-746-3701 (TTY 416-746-3716). Alternatively, you can also contact the Assaulted Women’s Helpline at 416-863-0511.

When the women and children staying at Ernestine’s arrived at our doors, we made a promise to be their home and safe refuge. This is true now more than ever.


Women who are feeling unsafe and scared for the health of their family; children who are confused and don’t quite understand why they can’t continue to play with the other kids at the shelter whom they have grown they regard as their extended family – our excellent staff is there for our clients to provide the emotional (and material) support they need right now.

We at Ernestine’s count ourselves extremely fortunate to have such a hard-working team of Program staff, who show up for their shifts and are dedicated to helping the women and children at the shelter through this difficult time.

Ernestine’s is committed to continuing to deliver our essential services to support the women and children at the shelter. We will continue to hold steady, we will continue to operate, and we will continue to be there for the women and children in our community and help them break the cycle of violence.

We need you to help make it a reality!


During these trying times, we at Ernestine’s are comforted by the extraordinary support of our donors. We are optimistic that we will all come together in this trying time and create a better and stronger Ernestine’s to support women and children escaping violence and abuse.

To support Ernestine’s essential work to keep women and their children sheltered and supported during this time of crisis, uncertainty, and increased demand, please donate.

Your financial support will go to purchase critical goods and services required to keep our clients safe. This includes (but is not limited to) food for in-house clients, food to stock up our on-site foodbank for Outreach clients, supplies for babies and toddlers (e.g. diapers, formula, etc.), and hygiene items for the women and children staying at the shelter (e.g. soap, shampoo, lotion, hand wash, etc.).

Thank you once again for all your support and for your generous decision to stand by our sides while we support women and children break the cycle of violence!

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