Whether or not you feel able to leave an abuser, there are things you can do to make yourself and your family safer.
- Try to predict when the violence might occur and simply leave or seek help. Try not to be isolated. Keep in touch with people.
- Be aware of any weapons in the house.
- Make a plan on what to do and where to go if you are in danger. Tell your children of your plan if they are old enough to understand.
- Make sure that you have a method of transportation that has gas and works.
- Keep an extra set of keys and money hidden.
- Keep a list of important phone numbers in the hiding place.
- Have a code with someone you trust to let them know when you are in danger. (Some women hang something out of the window that can be seen by a passer-by.)
- Have a safe place that you can go.
- Call people to let them know you are coming over so they can watch for you.
- Alert your neighbours to call the police if they hear a fight. Inform people of threats and violence.
- Keep a diary, notes be used in court. Preserve evidence (apology notes, bank finances etc.).
- Consult a lawyer or advocate and know your legal rights.
- Save money: Save from grocery money if you have no income, put it in a bank account in your name only. Knowing that you have an emergency fund will help reduce your anxiety. Prepare to support yourself by taking courses or working.
- Pregnancy: Do not get pregnant if the relationship is abusive. Your partner may abuse you more while you are pregnant, and after the birth. Children may make it harder for you to leave if you are in danger.
- Keep a phone in a room you can lock from the inside; if you can, get a cellular that you keep with you at all times.
- If the abuser has moved out, change the locks on your door; get locks on the windows.
- Pack a bag with important things you’d need if you had to leave quickly; put it in a safe place, or give it to a friend you trust. Include important information such as: Court papers, passport or birth certificates, medical records and medicines, financial information (T4s).
- When you are safe, get an unlisted phone number and caller ID.
- Use an answering machine, screen the calls.
- Take a good self-defense course.
I can tell ___________ and __________ about the violence and ask them to call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from my home.
If I leave my home, I can go (list four places):____________________, _________________, __________________, _________________.
I can leave money, car keys, clothes, and copies of documents with ___________.
If I leave, I will bring _________________________ (see checklist).
To ensure safety and independence, I can: Keep change for phone calls with me at all times, open my own savings account, rehearse my escape route with a support person, and review safety plan on _____________________ (date).