I was taught how to re-love myself. It gave me strengths I had forgotten I had. Those ten sessions have taken me through one of the most difficult times of my life. I will always be eternally grateful for these services. They literally have saved my life.


Iris Kirby House is a shelter for women, with or without children, who are experiencing relationship abuse.

Iris Kirby House, a 22 bed facility, was originally established in 1981 as Newfoundland’s first transition house; following this, in the fall of 2010, O’Shaughnessy House, a 15 bed facility, was opened. Iris Kirby House is government funded for daily operations and shelter maintenance, while making use of generous donations to provide comforts and additional supports to the residents and ex residents of the shelters. The shelter also operates 16 second stage housing units within the St. John’s and Mount Pearl areas and a communal living property in Conception Harbour. 

Women who seek shelter at Iris Kirby House have typically experienced a combination of several types of abuse: physical, psychological, emotional, sexual, and financial. Iris Kirby House offers nonjudgmental support to all women seeking our services. We believe it is the basic right for every woman to live in a non violent environment. Our shelters aid in reaching out to a continuum of supports available for female victims of abuse. Our 24 hour distress lines are often the first step in reaching out for help. Families may stay at the shelter  for up to six weeks, although extensions may be granted in some cases. Typically, this would include a situation where a family has not been able to find an adequate, affordable place to live or if the family's safety continues to be an issue. During their stay, women are provided with a safe haven from the abuse they are experiencing. They have the opportunity to talk and receive support from staff and other women.  
We believe that women have the right to integrity of the person, including the right to make informed choices among alternatives in one's own life decisions. Staff assist women in looking at all their options and providing nonjudgmental support. Cooperative living is a part of our overall attempt to make our shelters as homelike as possible for the women and children. Women share in chores such as cooking and light cleaning duties; living and working together while forming an important support group for each other. Programming is an important part of our services and while some programs/groups are offered to the residents on a voluntary basis, other groups are mandatory for them to attend while living at the shelter.
Closely following immediate physical safety, in terms of a family's overall needs, are the issues of income and safe, affordable housing. Some clients have the financial resources to secure their own housing needs, however, the majority of our clients do require assistance. Advocating on their behalf is an important part of the work we do with families.  
We recognize that it is a basic human right for each individual to live free and without fear of violence.
Click here to learn more about the lives of two extraordinary women,
Iris Kirby Sister O'Shaughnessy.

Shelter staff are available 24 hours per day, year round, to respond to calls from individuals seeking information, support or shelter. If you or someone you know is being abused please call us.

24 Hour Crisis Lines:
Iris Kirby House (709) 753-1492

Toll Free: 1-877-753-1492

O’Shaughnessy House : (709) 596-8709
Toll Free: 1-888-596-8709


Iris Kirby House
Local: (709) 753-1492
Toll Free: 1-877-753-1492
O'Shaughnessy House
Local: (709) 596-8709
Toll Free: 1-888-596-8709
Iris Kirby House
196 Waterford Bridge Rd. St. John's, NL, Canada. A1E 1E2