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VAW Counsellor - Family Service Toronto

Sep 20, 2020
Toronto, Ontario

Family Service Toronto (FST) helps people face a wide variety of life challenges.  For over 100 years, we have worked with individuals and families destabilized by precarious mental health and/or socioeconomic circumstances, to achieve greater resilience and stability in more just and supportive communities. We achieve this through our direct service work of intervention and prevention which includes counselling, peer support and education; knowledge building; and system-level work including social action, advocacy, community building and working with partners to strengthen the sector.

Reporting to the Manager, Violence Against Women Program, the Counsellor is responsible for providing crisis intervention, clinical assessment, development of safety plans, counselling and psychotherapy services, referrals and service coordination/case management supports to women who are experiencing all forms of gender-based violence in their close personal relationships.  This includes physical, emotional/psychological, financial/economic, sexual, spiritual, neglect and/or cyber abuse and special projects with other VAW-organizations, including the Assaulted Women’s Helpline. The Counsellor also works with women who have recently left an abusive relationship and/or who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse.  Counsellors on the team work with women who are living with an intellectual/developmental disability; a range of refugee and immigrant women who speak a variety of languages, as well as women who were born in Canada and speak English (Positions are designated to work with linguistic/cultural groups and all staff work with English-speaking women and women who are living with a developmental/intellectual disability).


  • Conduct assessments and develops goal-directed service plans
  • Provide evidence-based, culturally competent individual and group work supports to women who have experienced violence using a strengths-based, trauma-informed, intersectional, feminist framework.
  • Provides crisis intervention services to women in need of urgent service because of partner abuse/assault 
  • Provides service coordination and/or case management supports to clients requiring services outside of FST and/or internal to FST in different programs
  • Advocates for and with clients to access the necessary supports required to enable them to live a life free of abuse
  • Provides training and educational workshops on topics related to the work of VAW to diverse audiences of various sizes
  • Works in close cooperation with various services related to VAW issues including, but not limited to, the Assaulted Women’s Help Line, Victim Services, legal services, transitional support workers, Francophone and Indigenous services
  • Leads/co-leads group programs for women who have experienced abuse
  • In conjunction with the manager, works in close collaboration with community-based organizations, to develop and deliver a range of support services for women who have experienced abuse. These services are client centered, responsive to client’s needs and include, but are not limited to, education, awareness, social network building, self-help, peer support.
  • Works with women from a variety of backgrounds, including women labeled with an intellectual challenge and women of various levels of disability.
  • Work collaboratively with team members and other staff across the organization.
  • Work with SAU to respond to new requests for service in a timely and consistent manner.
  • Ensures the regular and timely recording of data as per organization and funder requirements.
  • Keeps the Manager informed of matters of potential risk to FST (e.g., clinical, financial, reputational, legal risks).


  • M.S.W. or equivalent combination of education and experience over a minimum five- year period.   Foreign credentials and relevant experience will be considered
  • Registered Social Worker in good standing with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) or Registered Psychotherapist in good standing with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO)
  • Minimum three years of experience in working with women who have experienced abuse using an intersectional feminist, anti-oppression framework
  • Demonstrated clinical training, experience and competence in: general trauma and/or trauma informed counselling; integrating clinical modalities into practice, including but not limited to: supportive intersectional feminist counselling, emotionally focused therapy, attachment, arts-based therapy, EMDR, Narrative Therapy, Sensorimotor Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
  • Demonstrated experience and a sound knowledge of the issues related to working with immigrants and refugees
  • Demonstrated involvement and leadership working with racially and ethnically diverse communities
  • Experience working with individuals identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer
  • Skilled in crisis intervention, safety planning/facilitation
  • Strong knowledge of the dynamics of abuse in close personal relationships
  • Experience delivering psycho-educational workshops using principles of adult education
  • Strong assessment, intervention and written documentation skills
  • Demonstrated ability to manage multiple tasks and set appropriate priorities in a fast-paced environment.
  • Strong assessment, intervention and written documentation skills
  • Demonstrated ability to manage multiple tasks and set appropriate priorities in a fast-paced environment
  • Current knowledge of best practices in IPV/GBV/mental health (e.g. crisis de-escalation, suicide prevention, harm reduction, addictions, child abuse)
  • Working knowledge of community resources in the City of Toronto
  • Ability to work independently in the community and as a member of a team
  • Excellent listening, verbal and written communication skills with a demonstrated ability to offer counselling in English and designated language of position, if appropriate.
  • Possess strong administrative skills and attention to detail
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice, cultural competency and equity and inclusion
  • Good computer literacy and experience with electronic data systems
  • Experience supervising students and volunteers
  • Criminal reference check with Vulnerable Sector Search completed within the past 12 months

We are committed to developing a diverse service team that reflects the diversity of the population who live and work in the City of Toronto.  We actively encourage applicants from all equity seeking groups especially those with lived experience from racialized and or marginalized communities. Our goal is to attract, develop, and retain highly talented employees from diverse backgrounds allowing us to benefit from a wide variety of experiences and perspectives.

In accordance with Ontario Human Rights Code, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, and FST’s Equity and Inclusion policy, accommodation will be provided in all parts of the hiring process. Applicants need to make their needs known in advance.

Women-identified applicants only

We thank all applicants and will contact the individuals selected for an interview. No phone calls please.

Salary: $55,024 - $67,772 pro-rated to hours worked

Hours: 21 hours per week to March 31, 2021

How to Apply: Quote file number VAW #33-20; send resume and cover letter to

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