Our Vision

A world where individuals, relationships, families, and communities are safe, empowered, and healthy.

Our Mission

Nova Vita works to end interpersonal violence and abuse by supporting individuals and families who have experienced domestic violence, intimate partner violence, or gender-based violence through the provision of crisis intervention, emergency shelter, transitional support, children’s programs, and counselling; and by fostering accountability for those who harm through intervention, counselling, public education, and systemic advocacy.

Our Values

At Nova Vita, we are:

  • Trauma-Informed: Our services promote the principles of trauma-informed care: safety, choice, trust, collaboration, and empowerment.
  • Inclusive: Our organization acknowledges the impact of systemic oppression on Indigenous communities, 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, racialized communities, newcomers, and people with disAbilities. We are an equity-seeking organization that strives to be inclusive and reflect the diversity of the individuals we serve.
  • Leaders: Our staff are knowledgeable, dedicated, passionate, skilled, and innovative professionals in the field of domestic violence prevention and intervention. We value honesty, integrity, transparency, open communication, and accountability. 
  • Effective: Our organization is committed to evaluating the effectiveness of our programs, supporting best-practices, pursuing new initiatives, and contributing to research. 
  • Accountable: Our organization strictly adheres to funder requirements, fully honours the Donor Bill of Rights, actively identifies efficiencies, and continuously provides quality services.
  • Community-Focused: Our organization is dedicated to fostering partnerships and collaboration, anticipating and responding to the needs of our community, inspiring engagement, and encouraging public awareness around the issues of interpersonal violence and abuse.

Our Strategic Plan

Download Strategic Plan

Our Board of Directors

Nova Vita Domestic Violence Prevention Services is governed by a Board of Directors, consisting of 8 community members.

2020-2021 Board of Directors:

Paul Oddi, President

Patricia Lovelock, Vice-President

Janice Vilaca, Secretary

Safi Hafiz-Zadeh, Treasurer

Robert Kindon, Director

Susan Swackhammer, Director

Shannon McMannis, Director

Candis McInnes, Director

Thank you to our board members, past and present, for volunteering your time, expertise, and leadership to make a difference in support of women and families impacted by violence and homelessness. 

Our History

In the early 1980s a group of Brant County citizens became concerned that there were no facilities for abused women and their children in Brantford and Brant County. Supported by the results of a needs study, a local community group led efforts to open a transition home for abused women and their children.

A Board of Directors was formed and became incorporated under the name “Nova Vita Women’s Shelter Incorporated” in October 1982. The name Nova Vita comes from the Latin “Nova Vitae” meaning “new life” and epitomizes our goal of helping abused women and children who have experienced abuse make the transition to a new life, free from violence.

Nova Vita Women’s Shelter Incorporated opened with 18 beds on June 1, 1983 and on that very first day a woman and her two children were welcomed into the safety of the newly renovated house, our emergency shelter on Chatham Street.

In February 1995, we moved into our new facility at 59 North Park Street. This expanded operation, with 18 beds, allowed Nova Vita to better serve individuals and families in the community. The building we now call home is completely wheelchair accessible with large children’s play areas.

We changed our name to Nova Vita Women’s Services. In this same year, Nova Vita began offering services to men who were perpetrators or victims of domestic violence through group and individual counselling. We have provided these services for over 20 years in which they have grown to include the Partner Assault Response Program for both men and women, as well as the S.C.R.I.B.E program for men who are at-risk of becoming abusive towards their partners.

First charity Golf Tournament to raise funds to support Nova Vita programs and services.

First time ever, Nova Vita could not accommodate every woman and child who came to our door in need of safe shelter and support.

Funding from Ontario Government allowed us to launch our children’s program. In collaboration with the BRAVE Committee, the Refrigerator Door was developed; a handbook that served as a comprehensive, community resource toolkit for women seeking to leave abusive relationships and connect with other local supports to meet their needs.

In 2003, Nova Vita completed a 2.8 million dollar addition and renovation to our building on North Park Street. Funding from the Municipal Government allowed us to offer 10 beds for women and children who were experiencing homelessness for a total of 33 beds. In this same year, Nova Vita solidified its formal partnership with Brant Family and children’s Services. This partnership afforded both agencies with the opportunity to better assess support support for families who have been impacted by domestic violence through collaborative service delivery. The partnership also included the ability for Brant Family service Workers to have their offices located directly on-site at Nova Vita.

On May 6, 2005 we officially opened Maria House – A Home for Families in Transition conveniently located next to our main building. This second stage transitional home with independent living and support provided greater opportunities for women and their children to build resilience through a wrap-around service delivery model.

Also in 2005, we changed our operating name to Nova Vita Domestic Violence Prevention Services to better reflect the diversity of programs and services that we offer. Nova Vita Domestic Violence Prevention Services is the only organization in Brantford and Brant County dedicated to helping both the victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse.

Fueled by the success of Maria House, we expanded our second stage transitional house and built an addition to accommodate six more apartments to call home.

Due to the growing need of families who were experiencing high conflict relationships and struggles with effective co-parenting, Nova Vita created the Caring Families program, which was further supported by a comprehensive research evaluation. Caring Families offer support to mothers, fathers, and their children and is delivered in concurrent group structure. also in this same year, in partnership with Brant Family and children’s Services, we began our Differential Response program where staff from both organization meet with each parent/caregiver separately to further asses the family’s individuals and collective needs to ensure a comprehensive service plan is developed.

Nova Vita hosted its first event in recognition of International Women’s Day to raise funds to support Nova Vita programs and services.

Nova Vita held its first Men in Heels: Standing Tall Together Against Domestic Violence event. This event continues today with all proceeds going directly to support our residential services. In the same year, through the financial support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, we began the Hairspray Project; a collaboration with local salon professionals to provide crucial information about the impacts of domestic violence and how to recognize the signs of domestic violence.

In efforts to raise additional funds for our services, Nova Vita opened Closet couture Boutique; a social enterprise that provides customers with quality clothing at affordable prices to generate financial support, while also offsetting the high volume of clothing donations we receive every day.

Nova Vita continues to engage in evaluative research of its many programs and services in partnership with a variety of educational institutions. Nova Vita also continues to seek out additional funding by acquiring government grants to further grow and support our services. These grant have facilitated the success for many programs that allowed for an increase in staffing, resources, and program development. One of the notable grant received was provided by the Ontario Trillium foundation to further embed a trauma-informed framework into the organization, with a specific focus on working with children from this lens, as well as knowledge-sharing with community partners about how the framework can be implemented in to their agency.