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What is Hiatus House?

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 their families 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 and skills training 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 familes 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:




 People Centeredness


How We Help

Maintain A Safe Place

We maintain a safe place to heal by providing emergency shelter in a safe and secure building for women and their families who are experiencing abuse, violence, and/or exploitation.

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

We provide emergency shelter for women and their families, school-based intervention programming, and group counselling for women, abusive males, and children to help them strengthen and heal from the impacts of violence. We also offer public education, we partner within the community to support initiatives that will help in our vision of an end to violence for women and their families in Windsor-Essex.

Support For Women & their families

Our team of caring workers provide safe and respectful counselling and supportive services.
We provide:

  • Counselling to children and youth who have witnessed violence at home
  • Help to women to increase their knowledge, skills, and confidence
  • Guidance for the development of a personal safety plan
  • Continuous advocation on behalf of abused women and their families

At Hiatus House, we value and respect everyone’s confidentiality.

Client Privacy Statement

Our History

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.

Board of Directors

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:

The Hiatus House team is passionate and dedicated to supporting the women and families that are working on having a life without violence, and I’m grateful to be a part of the incredible work they do. Our world is changing and Hiatus House is adjusting to keep pace. We will continue working toward an end to violence against women, and we know that there is much to do.  In 2023, each community in Windsor-Essex declared Intimate Partner Violence an epidemic in response to the Renfrew and other Inquests that made the declaration recommendations. We know that we cannot end violence for women and families unless we can do more, this commitment from our community is a great step toward creating lasting change.

Hiatus House is working to develop Transitional Housing across from the existing shelter. This program offers hope and a home for women and children as they move to independence. It will provide the time and support needed to ensure success going forward, by housing 40 women and their children. We are currently in the process is seeking support from our community, our political leaders, and our governments to enable us to make this difference in people’s lives. 

We benefit immensely from the generosity of individuals and organizations throughout Windsor-Essex. I can’t thank the people of our community enough. Your support and contributions to Hiatus House and other social service agencies means everything to those who need it most.  Without our donors, we couldn’t do all that we do. Thank you!

“Hiatus House is forever committed to work with women and families throughout Windsor-Essex in support of them living empowered lives free of abuse.”


Strategic Planning

Please see the attached outline of our plan.

Accessibility Policy & Plan

Financial Statements – March 31, 2022

Bylaws (2020)

Annual Report

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.


The VAWCCWE works to coordinate a community-wide response aimed at ending violence against women and their families through effective interventions and services.


To facilitate and advocate for a coordinated and effective response to violence against women and their families.


Collaboration, Commitment, Integrity, Participation, Accountability

We can be contacted by:

 Email Address:

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The VAWCCWE is a member of Building a Bigger Wave, our provincial organization, and the Southwest Regional Coordinating Committee (SWRCC)

2019 Snapshot


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