If You are considering leaving an abusive relationship, there are important safety measures you should consider putting into place.
It's important to note that in an emergency, Call 911 and/or leave as quickly as possible. Don't worry if you cannot take anything with you when you leave, your safety is of the utmost importance and you can work on getting a police escort to gather personal belongings.
If you are planning an exit, here are some items that you should have packed in advance (if you can) and ready to go in a moments notice:
Important documents, such as:
- Birth certificates
- Health Cards
- Driver's License
- Social Insurance card/number for you and your partner/children
- Any Citizenship/Immigration papers
- Legal documents such as custody paperwork, court orders, etc
- Proof of cohabitation, such as a rental agreement, house deed, mortgage payment history, utility bills, etc (something with the address and both of your names on it)
- Money/credit cards
- Children’s favourite toys
- Clothing for a few days
If you are living with an abusive partner, below are some tips for planning your exit:
There are important steps you can take to help ensure you and children’s safety. Follow the safety measures listed below and don't stress if you can't do them all at once. Take your time and plan accordingly to ensure the utmost safety for you and your children.
- Connect with an Outreach Worker from a women’s shelter. They can assist in safety planning and creating a plan to leave.
- Pack for an emergency exit (see the list above).
- Familiarize yourself with all the exits in the home, with the neighbourhood and where any well lit areas are outside.
- Find out if you can go to a neighbour’s home until you call a taxi or friend to come and get you.
- Pack a bag and hide it in a safe place or keep it at a friend’s house in the event that you need to leave quickly.
- Keep at least $50 set aside in a safe place so that you can call a cab if you need to.
- Pay attention to what triggers your partner’s violence and abuse. This can help you predict the next likely incident and give you a chance to prepare.
- Teach your children to use the telephone/cellphone to contact the police and fire department. Also teach them your address, and that of a close family and/or friend.
- Arrange to have friend’s and/or family check in (by phone or in person) at certain times so that if they cannot reach you they can call the police to check up on you.
- Create a code word with your children and/or family/friends so they know when to call for help.
- Consider a plan for the safety and well-being of your pet(s) such as making arrangements for friends/family to take care of them. Some Shelters are pet friendly so you can inquire about their policies regarding pets.
- Be aware of any weapons in the home and your partner’s access to them.
- When using the computer, be aware that your abuser may track the websites you have visited. Click Here to read our information on Internet Privacy/Safety and how to hide your history.
- It's IMPORTANT to remember that when leaving the home, take your children with you if you can. If you try to get them later, the police cannot help you remove them from the other parent unless you have a valid court order and this can take some time to get.
- Remember if you need to leave in a hurry, the police can escort you back later to remove additional personal belongings.