A Safety Plan focuses on the things you can do in advance to be better prepared in case you have to leave an abusive situation. If you are in immediate danger call 911 and leave immediately.
Contact The Women’s Centre Grey Bruce, Crisis Line/Help Line@ 519-371-1600 or Toll Free @ 1-800-265-3722 Let the staff know that you intend to leave an abusive situation and ask for support in safety planning.
- Request a police escort or ask a friend, neighbour or family member to accompany you when you leave. When talking to the police you can request a police officer that specializes in abuse cases.
- Do not tell your partner you are leaving. Leave quickly.
- If you are injured, go to a doctor, emergency room or a clinic and report what happened to you. Ask them to document your visit.
- Have a back-up plan if your partner finds out where you are going.
- Consult a lawyer. Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as photos. Keep a journal of all violent incidents, noting dates, events, threats and any witnesses.
- Arrange for someone to care for your pets temporarily, until you get settled. The Women’s Centre Grey Bruce Inc Shelter staff may help with this.
- Remember to clear your phone of the last number you called to avoid the abuser utilizing redial.
Things you can do to prepare:
- Open a bank account in your own name and arrange that no bank statements or other calls be made to you. Or, arrange that mail be sent to a friend or family member.
- Changing address with Canada Post – make arrangements for notice NOT to come to your present address.
- Plan your emergency exits. Think about safe areas of the house where there are no weapons and where there are at least two ways to escape. Never lock yourself in the bathroom. Keep yourself between your partner and your emergency escape if you feel you may need to get out safely
- Plan and rehearse the steps you will take if you have to leave quickly, and learn them well
- Decide & plan for where you will go if you have to leave home even if you don’t think you will need to
- If the situation is very dangerous, use your own instinct and judgement to keep yourself safe. Call the police as soon as it is safe to do so.
The following is a list of items you should try to set aside and hide in a safe place (i.e. at a friend’s or family member’s home, with your lawyer, in a safety deposit box).
Take a photocopy of the following items and store in a safe place, away from the originals. Hide the originals someplace else, if you can. Carry what you can, without suspicion, in your purse.
- Passports, birth certificates, Social Insurance Cards, immigration papers, for all family members
- Health cards, School and vaccination records
- Medications, prescriptions, medical records for all family members
- Work permits
- Divorce papers, custody documentation, court orders, restraining orders, marriage certificate
- Lease/rent agreement, house deed, mortgage payment book, house insurance and copies of the past
- 1-3 years of your partner’s T4s
- Address/telephone book
- ￼￼Picture of spouse/partner
- All cards you normally use i.e. credit cards, bank cards, phone card, cheque book, bank statements,
- ￼Try to keep all the cards you normally use in your wallet
- Set aside, in a place you can get to quickly, $10 to $15 for cab fare, and change for telephone calls
- Driver’s license and vehicle registration and insurance
Keep the following items handy, so you can grab them quickly:
- Emergency suitcase with immediate needs
- Special toys, comforts for children
- Small saleable objects
- Items of special sentimental value
- A list of other items you would like to take if you get a chance to come back to your home later
- In some circumstances arrangements can be made to have the police bring you back to the home later, to remove additional personal belongings, if it is arranged through the local division. Take the items listed above as well as anything else that is important to you or your children.
When you leave, take the children if you can. If you try to get them later, the police cannot help you remove them from their other parent unless you have a valid court order signed and directed by a judge.
Always remember: The safest way to leave an abusive situation is a well-planned escape (if possible). Please call and we will assist you with this so you can leave safely.
24-Hour Crisis/Help Line: 519-371-1600
Toll Free: 1-800-265-3722