What Can I Do?
If you are concerned for the safety of yourself or your children, take action quickly.
If you are in immediate danger:
- Call 911. If you cannot speak, dial 911 and don’t hang up. Police will automatically be dispatched.
- If there is no 911 number in your area, check your phone book for the crisis/emergency number.
- If you feel you can’t call the police, call your local crisis centre or local shelter. You can find numbers at the front of your phone book and have a confidential talk with an emergency counsellor.
- In Toronto you can call Interval House at 1-888-293-5516 or the Assaulted Women’s Helpline at 416-863-0511.
If you are not in immediate danger but you are planning to leave, here are some important safety and wellness issues for you to consider. Many women arrive at our home with their children and just the clothes on their backs. But if you can, plan ahead for a safe escape and a more comfortable transition into a new life. And take a moment to learn how to cover your tracks.
Are you being abused and planning to leave?
- Be discreet. Do not tell your partner that you’re thinking of leaving.
- When you do leave, take your children with you.
- If you have family pets, consider asking a friend to look after them or access the SafePet Program to arrange to have them fostered while you are at a partner shelter.
- Plan your emergency exits.
- Save as much cash as you can and keep it somewhere your abuser can’t access. You may need it for taxis and essentials when you leave.
- Open a bank account in your name or in the name of a person you trust. Make sure bank statements are not mailed to your home or sent to an email address your abuser has access to.
- Keep emergency phone numbers with you at all times.
- Take valuable documents: passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, immigration papers, health cards, SIN cards, bank books and bank cards. It’s also a good idea to keep copies of these documents somewhere safe in case you aren’t able to access the official copies when you’re ready to leave.
- Pack any prescription medications for you and your kids.
- If possible, bring documents that prove you have been living at the same address as your partner.
- If it’s an option, keep an extra set of clothing, keys, money, and other essentials at a trusted friend or family member’s house.
- Have an emergency suitcase packed and hidden somewhere safe, preferably the home of a friend, family member or coworker who will not reveal it to your abuser.
- Remember to set aside special toys, books, baby blankets, or other soothing items for your children, to comfort them when you leave.
- Keep the location you are escaping to confidential and ensure that the location tracking or GPS on your phone and other devices is turned off. Do not share it with your partner or anyone who may give it up to your partner. This will ensure the safety of everyone involved.