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Safety Planning For Those Living With Abuse

If you're leaving an abusive situation, it is crucial to create a safety plan.

If you’re living in an abusive situation both your safety and your children’s safety is of utmost importance. We recognize that it’s not always simple to understand what to do next, and how you should go about dealing with this difficult situation. Living with abuse can create immense stress, and is something no one should have to face. While you want to leave, we realize that it’s not as easy as many imagine it to be. Your safety and well-being always comes first which is why we’ve created a comprehensive safety plan for you to read. 


Planning

You should begin this process by having a plan in mind. This can include speaking with family, friends or a professional who can help support and assist you in the steps you need to take to break away. Ensure that there’s at least one person within your life that’s aware of the abuse. Gaining advice on your legal rights if there are children or property involved is also beneficial, or if you plan to get a restraining order and want to press charges against your abuser. If you don’t have a steady flow of income or home you can live in once leaving, it would be advised that you look into nearby shelters, as well as the financial aid within your local area. We recognize that it can be challenging to search these things on your cell phone or computer as your abuser may look through the search history. It’s recommended that you have a friend or family member make these searches, use a public computer or choose the times you do this research very carefully (i.e when your abuser isn’t home). Once you find the information you need, delete your search history, and keep private browsing on when making these searches. Below are links to legal, financial, and housing resources, as well as instructions on how to delete your search history. 


Important Points to Remember


When Leaving… 


Packing Checklist

Do your packing ahead of time and take whichever items are easiest for you to get. We know that your abuser may keep tabs on certain items, and understand that it can look suspicious if they notice things beginning to go missing. If possible, leave important items with a trusted friend or family member ahead of time, as your partner could find the bag where you’re hiding these things. If you have a pet, have a friend or family member take them temporarily in order for you to leave in a swift manner. Below are the items to take with you:

  • Drivers License 
  • Health cards for yourself and children if you have any 
  • Social insurance card 
  • Passports 
  • Any legal papers (immigration papers, restraining orders, treaty cards, court orders) 
  • Cash
  • Checks  
  • Credit/debit cards 
  • Mortgage and lease 
  • Cellphone 
  • Medication if you have any 
  • Toiletries 
  • Sentimental items

Things to Consider After You’ve Left 

We hope this plan helps give you an idea of where to start during this process. Remember, the abuse is never your fault and you shouldn’t feel guilty for not leaving sooner. You will get through this.


Resources:
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/stop-family-violence/plan-your-safety.html

Written by: Taryn Herlich

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