Ellevive launches online and text service for women in need

·2 min read

French-speaking women who are feeling isolated or are experiencing violence and abuse at home can now reach out to Ellevive through text or online chat.

Ellevive is launching a new service called Pas Bien Chez Moi Nord. It is available 24/7 starting today, April 12.

The service can be used by texting 705-710-9508 or using an online chat. The online platform is an addition to the 24/7 crisis line already offered by the centre.

Ellevive's executive director Chantal Mailloux said when the pandemic hit, it became apparent there had to be another option for women to ask for help.

“It’s hard to pick up the phone and make a call. We know, as well, the younger generation prefer sometimes to text or chat, it can be intimidating to call,” she said. “We thought it was a perfect opportunity to be able to put this together.”

Ellevive received about $30,000 from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services for the initiative.

Mailloux said the safest way to reach out is through the website because the chat will disappear after a certain amount of time or inactivity.

“Whereas on text, the person has to delete the conversation off their phone, so there’s no trace of anything,” she said. “On our end, after a few minutes of inactivity, we lose everything, so it’s not like we keep any information. It’s really confidential and there’s always a staff assigned to the chat.”

There's a team of about 15 counselors and outreach workers who will be able to provide emotional support, practical advice and refer to appropriate resources and services.

The service was inspired by a similar initiative, Unsafe at Home Prescott-Russell or Pas Bien Chez Moi à Prescott-Russell, offered by Maison Interlude House (MIH).

The MIH’s platform launched last December. Mailloux reached out to the organization’s executive director to learn how they did it and how they use the service. The director then connected Mailloux with the Ottawa-based Valor & Solutions.

“They’re the ones who really helped us to put the whole thing together. It was a very good collaboration, they were very willing to offer their help and their support,” Mailloux said. “That’s why it came pretty quickly because we got the funds in January. It was a pretty quick turnover and we’re happy it’s live today.”

To use the service, go to pasbiennord.ca or text 705-710-9508. For emergency situations, dial 911.

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com