Ottawa Victim Services logo in all white text

About Ottawa Victim Services

Who we are

Ottawa Victim Services (OVS) is a not-for-profit organization based in Ottawa, ON, Canada. Since 1998, we’ve been providing emotional and practical support to people in our community who’ve been affected by crime or tragedy

Icon with many hands coming together

We’re part of the community

We understand our community because we’re part of it. Our staff and volunteers represent Ottawa’s diversity and many of us have experienced the effects of crime and tragedy. Some of our Board members have worked in frontline victim support. We also partner with local services and organizations so we can reach as many people as possible. Together, we’re stronger.

Icon drawing of a male face

We’re your guide

It can be difficult to find the right services and support, especially when things are tough. We help people find their way through the legal, government, police and community systems. Our team can guide you to the right services and resources for you.

Icon drawing of thumbs up

We’re your supporter

We know how scary and lonely the world can feel after experiencing crime or tragedy. That’s why we’re committed to being here for you when you need it most. We’ll listen, give you reliable advice, advocate for your rights, and provide resources to help you stay safe and move forward.

Our achievements in 2023-24

“You feel like a safe space for me right now.”

A client of OVS

Our partnerships

We’re proud to be part of a network of local organizations and services that work to keep our community safe and happy. We’re able to do the work we do because of our partnerships.

Our key partnerships include:

Ottawa Police Service, Victim Support Unit (VSU)
Working with the Victim Support Unit means we can help the people who need it most urgently. We work in partnership with the police, but we’re not the police.

Immigrant Women’s Services Ottawa (IWSO)
We work with IWSO to make sure that all our clients get the help they need, no matter what language they speak. IWSO often helps us translate for victims who don’t speak English or French.

Victim/Witness Assistance Program (VWAP)
We work closely with this program to support our shared clients: survivors of crime who must go to (or speak at) criminal court proceedings/trials. The program’s staff at the courthouse ask our volunteers to go with survivors to court.

We also work closely with:

Algonquin College, Victimology Advisory Committee

Canadian Centre for Policing Intimate Partner Violence (Partnership Member)

Canadian Femicide Observatory Expert Advisory (Panel Member)

Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime

Frontline Human Trafficking Committee

Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW)

Ontario Network of Victim Service Providers

Ottawa Police’s Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Case Reviews

Ottawa Police’s Violence Against Women Advisory Committee

Sexual Assault Partner Abuse Care Program

The City of Ottawa

Unsafe at Home Ottawa

Voice Found

Our team

Our small but mighty team believes in helping each other and making the world a better place. Together with our volunteers and Board of Directors, we bring lived, educational and professional experience in areas like:

  • Social services
  • Housing
  • Legal and advocacy services
  • Substance use and mental health sectors
  • Anti-violence programming
  • Social work
  • Psychology
  • Law
  • Criminology
  • Victimology

We use our compassion, expertise and understanding to provide practical and emotional support to thousands of victims of crime in Ottawa every year.

Bio photo of Heidi Illngworth

Heidi Illingworth

Executive Director, Ottawa Victim Services
Phone: 613-238-2762

Heidi has spent her life supporting and serving vulnerable people, including:

  • 25 years delivering frontline services for victims of serious crime and interpersonal violence
  • 3 years serving as Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime
  • 11+ years serving as the Executive Director of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime
  • 10+ years developing and teaching postgraduate courses in Victimology at Algonquin College (ongoing)

Our funders

We’re very grateful for the continued support of our funders. Their commitment enables us to care for our community and lift up people in their darkest moments.

Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
Employment and Social Development Canada
Department of Justice Canada

Meet our board

Our Board members work tirelessly behind the scenes to provide leadership and strategic direction at OVS. They represent the diversity of our community, and several of them have a background in frontline services. Learn more about our board members below.

  • matthew-kennedy bio photo

    Matthew Kennedy


  • Meagan O’Hare-Gordon headshot against a brick wall background

    Meagan O’Hare-Gordon


  • Harpreet Kaur Hunjan bio photo

    Harpreet Kaur Hunjan


  • Jooris Nndongozi bio photo

    Jooris Nndongozi


  • Headshot of Heather Lachine

    Heather Lachine


  • Sarah Johnston-Way bio photo

    Sarah Johnston-Way


  • Sandy Wooley bio photo

    Sandy Wooley


  • Meghan Cook bio photo

    Meghan Cook


  • Jill Broadbent bio photo

    Jill Broadbent


Complaints Process

If you’re unsatisfied with the service you received from Ottawa Victim Services, you may send a complaint in writing to the Executive Director at, who will review and respond within 7 business days. If you’re still unsatisfied with the response to your complaint, the Board Chair will conduct a final review and communicate it to you within 14 business days.

Ottawa Victim Services is an agency that must deliver services in French in areas designated under the French Language Services Act (FLSA). We are pleased to review and address French Language Services (FLS) issues and complaints. If you have compliments or complaints about the quality of the delivery of FLS, you may send them in writing to the Executive Director at who will review and respond within 7 business days. If you’re still unsatisfied with the response to your FLS complaint, the Board Chair will conduct a final review and communicate it to you within 14 business days.