What is the Seniors Safety Line?
The Seniors Safety Line (SSL) is operated by the Assaulted Women’s Help Line. The SSL is the only 24-hour crisis and support line for seniors in Ontario who have experienced any type of abuse or neglect. Callers receive emotional support, safety planning, information and referrals in over 200 languages. The SSL is a “senior friendly” service with a live counsellor available to help navigate often difficult systems, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
If you would like to talk, the SSL Staff are there to listen – day or night.
Online Counseling is also offered Monday-Friday from 11 AM-8 PM
Who Can Call the SSL?
The Seniors Safety Line (SSL) is open to any senior – female, male, two-spirit, trans or genderqueer. The SSL can address the diverse needs of those with disabilities, immigrants, persons of colour, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual persons, transgendered and two-spirit persons. We also provide information to relatives, friends, neighbours, caregivers and other service professionals who may have questions or concerns about an elderly person in their life.
What Can You Expect When You Call?
When you call the Senior Safety Line you will always reach a real person to speak with. Each call to the Senior Safety Line is unique. Some callers identify as survivors of abuse, some as abusive partners and some as concerned family members, friends and/or colleagues seeking help on behalf of someone else.
While staff recognize each call is specific to the individual, here are some
possible questions that counsellors use consistently to best help each caller:
“Are you in a safe location to speak with us?”
It’s critical for your safety that you reach out when your partner or abuser is not around, whenever that is possible. If your partner or abuser does come home or walk in while you’re talking with a counsellor, immediately disconnect the call with us.
“Are you able to tell me a little bit about your situation?”
Before a counsellor can begin helping you, they need to know your specific situation. This gives you an opportunity to bring up any concerns you’ve had about your relationship. Providing a relationship timeline or explaining a recent altercation(s) with your partner or abuser can give the counsellor a better idea about what you’ve experienced or what you’re currently experiencing.
“What have you considered doing at this point?”
You are the expert of your own situation. Callers reach out at all different times in their relationships, so counsellors need to know what steps you’re ready to take before they can help you find resources. While a counsellor won’t give explicit advice on what you should do next, she will facilitate your options in order to make the best decision for you & your specific situation/experiences.
“Thank you for reaching out.”
You might feel anxious about contacting the Seniors Safety Line, especially if you haven’t reached out for help before. We are completely confidential and anonymous, and our counsellors have extensive training in issues related to elder abuse/neglect. Reaching out for help is the first step toward improving your situation, whatever that may be, and we are here when you take this important first step.
“Let’s plan together.”
Whether you are planning on leaving your situation or finding things that you can do to feel safe; there may be more than one right answer and a counsellor can help you sort through the options to determine the best one for you. Counsellors are not judgmental or pushy, they are supportive and are available to help provide you with support based on your particular situation.
“Can I help you with anything else?”
Maybe over the course of your conversation with a counsellor you thought of an additional question, or perhaps you feel more comfortable asking something you were scared to ask before. Counsellors are always available to answer your questions about healthy relationships and how to handle an unhealthy or abusive relationship, so don’t hesitate to ask if something comes up throughout your conversation.