Domestic Violence and Safety
Although you can not control the violence of your partner or ex-partner, you can increase your own safety and that of your children in the face of violence. Creating a security plan tailored to your needs consists of defining the measures to be taken to increase your security and to prepare you in advance for the possibility of other acts of violence.
Call us at 1-800-461-1842 for an individualized security plan for your needs.
What is a safety plan?
When an assault occurs in a domestic violence situation, women find themselves in a position where they must make quick decisions to ensure their safety as well as their children’s safety. In these circumstances, it is likely that a high stress level and anxiety make such decisions difficult, especially if the situation becomes chaotic.
This is why it is necessary to immediately prepare a plan to ensure your own safety as well as your children’s safety. Remember that you should always take the threats of your spouse or your “ex” seriously.
If you believe that your spouse or your "ex" may increase his violent behaviour, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with possible safety plans, in case you quickly have to leave the premises.
A safety plan is a practical tool that will help you plan what to do to ensure your safety. If you are better prepared, you will feel more in control of the situation.
Before an episode of domestic violence
1. Keep a suitcase or bag close by so you can access it quickly and easily. Whenever possible, put the following items in it:
- Clothes for you and your children
- Duplicate keys for the apartment or the house as well for the car
- Your identity documents (yours and your children’s): social insurance cards, health insurance cards, birth certificates, passports
- Driver's license, proof of registration
- Your bank books, check books, credit cards, mortgage papers or lease agreement, marriage certificate
- Your address book
- A picture of your spouse or your ex-spouse to help to identify him
- A list of items that you could pick up later if you had the possibility to go back home
2. Make sure that your purse, your wallet, your identity documents, your keys and other emergency items (your and your children’s medication, etc.) are close by so you can access them easily and quickly.
3. Plan a means of transportation.
4. Talk about your situation to someone you trust. Share a password with this person that you will use to let them know that you are in danger and that they should contact the police immediately.
5. Teach your children to dial 911 in case of emergency.
6. Teach them not to intervene during an episode of domestic violence and tell them they should seek refuge in a safe place at home or with neighbours.
7. Plan for a place to stay (parents, friends, shelter) in case of emergency.
8. Establish a relationship with a shelter by sharing what you are going through. Contact them at any time for support and immediate assistance.
During an episode of violence
1. If the situation becomes dangerous and if it is possible for you, dial 9-1-1.
2. Otherwise, trust your instincts and listen to your “inner voice”. You know your spouse better than anyone else and you know how to act with him.
3. Try to reduce tension.
4. Try to stay calm and reassure your children.
5. Ask them to retreat to their room or, if possible, to go to a neighbour's house.
6. Avoid finding yourself in a space where there is no way out.
7. If a trusted person communicates with you by phone, at the door, or online, remember to use your password to let her or him know that you are in danger.
8. As soon as it is possible for you to do so, leave the premises with the children, saying that you have an appointment with the doctor or the like.
9. Go to a safe place or contact a shelter to get help immediately.
10. Remember that your priority is to protect your life and those of your children.
After the separation
Violence after the separation is a very real phenomenon that must be addressed to ensure the safety of victims of domestic violence. During an eventual separation or if you are separated and are you afraid of your spouse, here are some ways to protect yourself:
1. Be sure never to be alone in the presence of your spouse; favour public places to meet with him.
2. Plan to be in a safe place to tell him that you are leaving him. It is likely that it will have an impact on his abusive behaviour.
3. If possible, always have a cell phone with you, ready to be used at all times.
4. Avoid places where you used to go to together; change your lifestyle.
5. Secure your home: doors, windows, locks, lights at the entrance.
6. Keep a phone on your bedside table at night to use in case of emergency.
7. Consult a lawyer to resolve the issue of child custody and know your rights.
8. If you can’t convince your spouse or your "ex" to leave you alone, ask for help from a lawyer to get an order requesting that he no longer bothers you.
9. If you are a victim of harassment, threats, assault or harassing calls, you can make a complaint to the police.
10. If you're scared and you fear for both your and your children’s safety, plan to stay in a shelter.
WARNING: A victim who attempts to escape violence should disable the geolocation function of her smart mobile device and social networks.
Maison Interlude House would like to thank La Gitée for granting us permission to use this information posted on their web site.