Since its founding in 1976, Hiatus House has been committed to breaking the cycle of domestic violence throughout Windsor-Essex county.

We provide crisis telephone support and emergency shelter for women and children in Windsor and area who are fleeing violence and abuse. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week providing help and hope for families faced with domestic violence.

We also provide education to women, men and children through counselling and group services. Learn more about our program on the Programs and Services page.

Our team is committed to helping women, children and men live violence-free lives. Hiatus House is funded in large part by the government of Ontario, and through grants and donations from individuals and organizations.

Vision & Mission

Our Vision: An end to violence against women and their children in Windsor-Essex.

Our Mission: To provide safe environments for women and their families to heal and strengthen, in support of them living empowered lives free of abuse.



In pursuit of our Mission:

(a) Inclusion

(b) Integrity

(c) Compassion

(d) People Centeredness

(e) Accountability



Maintain A Safe Place
  • Provide emergency shelter in a safe and secure building for women experiencing abuse and their children.


Support for Women & Children
  • Our team of caring workers provide safe and respectful counselling and supportive services.
  • We provide counselling to children and youth exposed to domestic violence.
  • We help women to identify their options when in an abusive situation.
  • We help women to increase their knowledge, skills, and confidence in making choices.
  • We work with women and their children to develop a personalized safety plan.
  • We will maintain confidentiality.
  • We will advocate on behalf of abused women and their children.
  • We work in partnership with other community agencies to ensure the best possible services for women and their children.

A Safe Place for Women and their children

If you are experiencing physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse,

if you, and your children, need emergency shelter as a result of abuse,

if you are looking to connect with other people and learn new skills through group programming,

we are here to help.

Hiatus House is dedicated to the elimination of violence against women and children. We recognize that this violence is happening in our community and that the consequences impact family, friends, community and society at large.

Our efforts and programs extend beyond providing emergency shelter for women and their children.

We provide separate group intervention programs women, abusive males, and children. We also provide public education, we get involved with community initiatives and research projects.

Hiatus House has also provided specialized intervention programs in response to community need.



Driven by a firm commitment and dedicated staff, Hiatus House has kept a keen focus on ending violence in families in Windsor – Essex. The evolution of services has been to develop ongoing care for recognized needs that expands to extended capacity and specialized programming for complex needs.



Hiatus House first opened a nine-bed shelter on California Avenue. The Executive Director was the only paid staff, others were volunteers. In 1979 it expanded to 24 beds.


First Counselling Contract with the City of Windsor Social Services was funded, then Child & Youth Program, and a Group Therapy Program for Abusive Men were added.

At the end of the 1980s, construction of 250 Louis Avenue’s 42-bed facility was completed and all programs moved to this location. Accessible Housing Services also began at that time; this was a partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association (Windsor/Essex County Branch), Drouillard Place, and Legal Assistance of Windsor.


The growth of Hiatus House saw the development of a management team and the addition of funds for residential support counselling and school based services. Partnerships continued to grow and we established the Domestic Violence Emergency Response System (DVERS) – originally the Abused Women’s Active Response Emergency program, as well as a pet placement service with the Essex County Humane Society for women in the shelter. Toward the end of the 1990s the “Just for Kids Creative Play Centre” playground opened at Hiatus House.


We began offering the Partner Assault Response Program, the Transitional & Housing Support Program and the Child Witness Program. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation injects much needed funding over eight years for security/safety enhancements, and various building and residential area renovations/upgrades. We moved from paper to electronic data collection through the implementation of Client Track software – a huge step forward for data reporting and statistics. The end of the 2000s saw the beginning of the Violence Against Women Co-ordinating Committee and the Neighbour, Friends and Family initiative due to support from the Ministry of Community and Social Services.


We saw a building renovation to open an entrance at Chatham Street for our Fresh Start Program. The Ministry of the Attorney General approves funding for the Family Court Support Worker Program. We acquired the 245 Louis Avenue property for future development, and received a grant to replace the roof on the shelter. In 2014, the Domestic Violence Emergency Response System (DVERS) Alarm was unveiled by Windsor Police Services. In 2016, we piloted a two year program in partnership with the city to help survivors of domestic violence access safe and affordable housing.

2020s and beyond

We begin 2020 with a look back on the successes and growth of Hiatus House. We will see our 50th year during this decade and look forward to seeing what the future has in store.


President: Cathy Morrison
Past President: Susan Bryant
Vice-President: Rosana Kemsley
Treasurer: Lisa Lambkin
Secretary: Wendy Iatzko
Directors: Georgette Makhoul, Manny Cardoso, Paul Whited, Shirley Egan

A Message from the Executive Director, Sylvie Guenther:

I have been in the role of Executive Director at Hiatus House since May of 2020. My first year here is proving to be one of discovery and challenges, but who doesn’t love discovery and the opportunity to overcome challenges. Coming into a new organization during a pandemic certainly makes for a unique experience. I learned in a very short time that the team at Hiatus House is committed and dedicated to the women and families that we serve, and that they do great work. Thank you to each and every employee for working tirelessly over the last year.

I also learned about the incredible generosity of individuals and organizations throughout Windsor-Essex. It has been an unprecedented year for donations and I can’t help but think that perhaps the pandemic has sparked a greater desire to help others experiencing difficulty. It warms my heart and reminds me that we are all in this together. Thank you to all of those in Windsor-Essex who have shown their support to charitable organizations throughout the city. Your contributions mean everything to those who need it most and it makes us all feel a little more connected.

COVID-19 will not be denied. It has taught us that we can shift to a new normal whether we like it or not. One thing I do know is that it’s absolutely necessary to maintain humour and a sense of togetherness during this time. I believe we have. I am grateful for the patience and the willingness that the Hiatus House team has had. As a group we have been able to change direction quickly and adjust to conflicting messages. We have struggled with the fear and worry, yet persisted in order to act on behalf of the women and children we serve. We will always remember this time and the lessons that it taught us.

Going forward I am excited about the possibilities. There are community partners to work with, services to grow and improve upon, and strategic directions to take…all in an effort to end to violence against women and their children in Windsor and Essex County — where all family members are empowered to live violence-free.

Let’s trust 2024 to take us into this next era with a little more peace and balance, carrying the new lessons we’ve learned.

Strategic Planning:
  • Hiatus House is currently engaged in a strategic planning process. We are gathering input from the Board of Directors, employees, community partners and people who have utilized the services. Please visit the site again in the upcoming months to learn more about our strategic priorities for the future.


Accessibility Policy & Plan

Financial Statements – March 31, 2022

Bylaws (2020)


Violence Against Women Coordinating Committee Windsor-Essex (VAWCCWE)

The VAWCCWE of Windsor-Essex works collaboratively with a network of organizations, groups and individuals to end domestic violence through leadership, education and advocacy.

MissionThe VAWCCWE works to coordinate a community-wide response aimed at ending violence against women and children through effective interventions and services.  
VisionTo facilitate and advocate for a coordinated and effective response to violence against women and children.  
ValuesCollaboration; Commitment; Integrity; Participation; Accountability  

We can be contacted by

Email Address: vawccwe.gmail.com



The VAWCCWE is a member of Building a Bigger Wave 
http://www.buildingabiggerwave.org/, our provincial organization, and the Southwest Regional Coordinating Committee (SWRCC)



Hiatus House works with our community partners and has become a hub for support and resources for women and their children throughout Windsor-Essex.

Working within the Mission, Vision and Values of the organization, Hiatus House has always and will continue to work with our existing and future partners in order to support seamless and comprehensive care for all the people we serve.




For over 40 years, Hiatus House has provided shelter for abused women and their children in Windsor – Essex . A history of caring and compassion for women and their children, and families, the shelter has grown from 9 beds in 1976 to 42 beds today, recognizes the underserved with a vision for expansion to another 40 beds to further meet the needs of the community

We currently have:

  • 26 rooms providing 42 beds for abused women and their children from Windsor and Essex County
  • Services provided in a culturally-sensitive manner
  • The shelter is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Services are also provided to abused women in a same sex relationship
  • Child and Youth Program available to children in the shelter

For additional shelters in Canada, use this clickable map to connect the nearest place that can offer safety, hope and support.