Vision & Mission

Our Vision: An end to violence against women and their children in Windsor and Essex County — where all family members are empowered to live violence-free.

Our Mission: To break the cycle of domestic violence one family at a time. We do this by providing 24 hour a day crisis intervention and emergency shelter to abused women and their children. In addition, we provide public education, research and specialized counselling services for all family members affected by domestic violence.



In pursuit of our Mission:

(a) Client Centered. We acknowledge the needs of the individuals we serve as our primary responsibility, recognizing it is a basic human right to live without fear of abuse.

(b) Respect. We accept the intrinsic worth of all individuals in our relationships with them and believe in the capacity of individuals for growth and change.

(c) Responsible and Accountable. We fulfil our responsibilities professionally, with integrity and accountability.

(d) Leadership. We demonstrate leadership by being innovative, maintaining quality and promoting excellence of service within our community.

(e) Dedicated. We are passionate, committed and unwavering.



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: Shirley Egan
Past President: Helen Biales
Vice-President: Rosana Kemsley
Treasurer: Cathy Morrison
Secretary: Susan Bryant
Directors: Cheryl Deter Wendy Iatzko, Linda Lukis, Georgette Makhoul, Dan Martinello

A Message from the Executive Director, Thomas Rolfe:

Constant change is the new reality.
Across our fiscal 2018-19 year, our shelter’s occupancy was at a record high averaging 103.9%, with an average length of stay of 35.4 days. This increase of 29% form the previous year demonstrates an ongoing and growing need for shelter beds in our region.

Through our Shine the Light on woman Abuse and Wrapped in Courage campaigns, we were able to distribute a total of 1,117 scarves, hats and ties.

We want to thank every person and group that has contributed to Hiatus House through monetary gifts or the donation of needed items. All of it helps the work we do to support women and their families in Windsor-Essex live lives free of violence. We also want to thank the 35 volunteers who have given their time to gift wrap during the Holiday Season, or through their support for campaigns and events. Finally, we want to thank the Royal LePage Binder Real Estate company for their support through the annual golf tournament.

It has been my good fortune, over the last thirteen years, to have been surrounded by a dedicated group of caring staff and a committed and thoughtful Board of Directors who have made some difficult decisions during these challenging times. It is a pleasure to be able to welcome the new Executive Director, Sylvie Guenther, to the Hiatus House team. I am confident that she will successfully lead the organization during the next phase of its development.

Thomas Edison said: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Strategic Priorities:
  • Establish a shelter in the County within a hub environment.
  • Create a branding plan including the redesign of the Hiatus House website.
  • Focus on the men’s (abuse perpetrators) program with the goal that within the next year the program will have sufficient participation to run two days per week.
  • Upgrade and enhance the facility at 250 Louis Avenue.
  • Establish a second stage housing unit where victims of abuse who are in transition can live for up to a year. The proposed site for this housing is the vacant land owned by Hiatus House and situated across the street from the current shelter facility.


Accessibility Policy & Plan

Financial Statements – March 31, 2020

Financial Statements (2) – March 31, 2020

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:



The VAWCCWE is a member of Building a Bigger Wave, 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.


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.




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.