Quick exit

If you're in an abusive relationship, you need to plan ahead for your safety. You also need to plan ahead for the safety of your children.

During a Violent Incident:

      • Start to position yourself to get out quickly or near a phone so you can call 9-1-1 if necessary.
      • Try to move to a space where the risk is lowest. Try to avoid arguments where there might be items that could be used as weapons (such as the kitchen, bathroom or garage) or rooms without access to the outside.
      • Use your judgment and intuition – do whatever will keep you safe.
      • When, or after, you have been assaulted, call the police at 9-1-1 if you can. Tell them you have been assaulted by your spouse/partner/boyfriend.
      • If you are able to leave, take your children with you 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.

Preparing an Escape Plan:

      • Make arrangements with friends or family so you can stay with them if necessary. Teach children how to use the phone (including your cell phone if you have one) to call 9-1-1 to contact the police.
      • Figure out your emergency exits/escape plan. Teach them to your children and know them well. If you cannot leave because of a disability, contact a women’s shelter to make arrangements for transportation.
      • If you have call display on your phone, be careful who can get access to the stored numbers (e.g., the last number dialed).
      • Use caution when storing numbers on your cell phone and/or using your computer.
      • Open a bank account in your own name and arrange that no bank statements or other calls be made to you, or arrange for mail to be sent to a friend or family member.
      • Save and set aside as much money as you can.
      • Plan your transportation and any associated costs. Gillian’s Place will send a taxi and can cover the costs of your trip to the shelter if you are coming to stay with us.
      • Develop and teach your children their own safety plan.

If you Have Left your Partner:

      • Keep your phone charged and with you at all times. Pre-program the number of people to call when you need help.
      • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
      • If you have a protection order or custody and access documents, keep them with you at all times.
      • If you are moving to a confidential location, consider using a mailing address that is different from the one where you are actually living (e.g., set up a post office box)
      • Be aware that addresses can be listed on police reports and restraining orders. Before filling out your address on any form, ask if there is a way to keep your address confidential. If not, ask if you can use a P.O. Box or friend’s address instead.
      • Try to make sure the outside of your home is well lit. Install a motion-detection light if possible.
      • Keep bushes etc. around your house well-trimmed, making it harder for someone to hide.
      • Install extra security systems in your home if possible (e.g., additional locks, window bars, an electronic security system).
      • Change the locks on the windows and doors if you are returning to your former home. Install a peephole in the door. Change the locks on your garage and mailbox.
      • Consider having your phone number unlisted.
      • Do not put your name in your apartment directory.
      • Notify service providers (e.g., your doctor) not to give out your appointment times to your partner.
      • Consider telling your neighbours about the situation. Make a plan with them for when you need help (e.g., to look after you children in an emergency)
      • Teach your children not to answer the door.
      • Teach your children to call 9-1-1 and what to say.
      • Encourage your children to go to another room where they can leave or lock the door if they are afraid for their safety. Reassure them that they are not responsible for your safety.
      • Change your routines (e.g., shop at different times/locations than you usually would) to make it harder for your partner to find you.
      • If you are in a vehicle and believe you are being followed, drive to the nearest police station.
      • If you are walking and believe you are being followed, cross the street, go into the nearest public place and call 9-1-1.
      • Park where your vehicle cannot be easily seen if your partner drives by.
      • Inform your employer or school of your situation. Ask about taking a temporary leave or about changing your duties while you gauge the abuser’s response.
      • Always park as close to a building as you can in a well-lit area. Check the back seat before getting into your vehicle.
      • Consider carrying a personal alarm or whistle.
      • Ask for an escort to your car.
      • When walking, stay in populated areas.
      • Always let someone know when you will be home.

How to Create a Safety Plan for You:

For instructions on how to create a personalized Safety Plan, including Emergency Escape Plan, Emotional Safety Plan and Child Safety Plan, call one of our Peer Support workers at the Sudbury Women’s Centre. 
Remember, you can’t do it all at once. One step at a time, one day at a time, you will become more and more safety conscious, more and more risk-aware. Also remember you are not alone. We are always just a telephone call away at 705-673-1916.
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