Safety Plan, Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Posts/Tweets June 11, 2014

Welcome to Right-On with HFG Happy Families Support Network Inc. (HFG)

HFG is a not-for-profit support group that provides ongoing support to women and children who have experienced abuse

HFG is a free support group for women and children who have experienced abuse, run by women who have experienced abuse

The topic for today is – Safety Plan, Leaving an Abusive Relationship

When you are in dangerous situations, you never really have time to think or plan. It is all about fight or flight

A safety plan is something you work on when you are not in the fight or flight mode. It takes careful thought and planning

You can work on preparing your safety plan a bit at a time to ensure that you have everything covered for almost all situations

Then take some time to do a few practice runs of your safety plan

Start by thinking about all the things you and your children use on a daily basis, things you absolutely need

Then think about things you and your children will need in an emergency

If you are living with domestic abuse you must remember the most important thing is your safety and the safety of your children

When you create a safety plan, you identify things to keep you and your children safe and prepare for future violence

A safety plan can also be about preparing to leave the abusive relationship or even after leaving the abusive relationship

If you are currently in an abusive relationship, here are some things to think about and do when preparing a safety plan:

  1. Tell someone you trust about the abuse-friend, family member, co-worker. Reassure your children that it is not their fault
  2. Make a list of emergency numbers, police, shelter, assaulted women’s help line, trusted friend or family member. Keep it close
  3. Teach your children how to use the phone to call for help and practice what they should say when they call
  4. Find a safe place in your home for your children to go when the abuse is happening so they are safe and away from danger
  5. During an abusive episode, try to stay away from places in the home with weapons like the kitchen
  6. Think of somewhere/someone you can stay with for a night or 2 to be safe. Confirm that they are willing to help
  7. REMEMBER to go over your safety plan regularly

If you are preparing to leave the abusive relationship, here are some things to think about and do for your safety plan:

  1. Where will you go when you leave? Friend, family member, shelter? Confirm with friend or family member that they’ll help
  2. Can you take your children with you when you leave? The police can’t help you to get them later unless you have a Court Order
  3. Copy important documents for everyone in the home and keep in a safe place away from originals
  4. Put the originals in a safe place so you can get them quickly. If you can keep them out of the home that’s best
  5. Copy: Birth certificate, SIN cards, marriage license, driver’s license & registration, passports, health cards
  6. Copy: Lease or mortgage documents, school records and immunization records for your children
  7. Copy: All banking information, debit cards, credit cards, cheque book, insurance documents
  8. If you work outside the home, take something from your list to work daily and leave it there
  9. If you don’t work outside the home leave the items at a friend or family member’s home, or somewhere safe
  10. Open a bank account and get credit cards in your name if possible and start putting some money aside/in your account
  11. Pack a bag of things you use every day, and leave it at a friend or family member’s home or at your work
  12. Make copies of keys to your home and car and keep them at a friend/family member’s home or at your work
  13. Have an emergency suitcase at hand at all times so it’s easy to pack at short notice
  14. When you are alone practice packing necessities for your children. See how fast you can gather the important things
  15. Things to remember for your children, favourite toys, clothes, medicine, blankets
  16. Think about the best & safest time to leave with your children, times when you are out together & not expected back right away
  17. Times when the abuser is at work or out with friends and not expected back right away
  18. REVIEW AND PRACTICE YOUR SAFETY PLAN REGULARLY

When you are ready to leave…

  1. Do not tell the abuser that you are leaving, this might escalate the abuse and put you or your children in danger
  2. If you used the home phone to make a call, remember to delete the number from the memory so redial can’t be used
  3. Grab your emergency suitcase and pack the necessities as practiced
  4. LEAVE QUICKLY!
  5. It’s sometimes possible to have the police accompany you to the home at a later date to collect personal belongings

After you have left the abusive relationship, you still need to think about your safety

Sometimes the abuse escalates after you leave because the abuser feels they have lost their power and control over you

If the abuser was taken out of the home and you and your children are still living there…

Change the locks immediately, install or check batteries for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and get a security system

Give your children’s school, daycare and anyone else who cares for your children a list of people allowed to pick them up

Insist that when someone on the list is picking up your children for the first time, they need to show photo ID

Find a support group so you have someone to talk to when you feel sad

The experience of being abused is very emotionally draining and exhausting

Leaving an abusive relationship and rebuilding your life takes courage

Surround yourself with positive, supportive people that care about you

Get involved in community activities, this will reduce the feeling of isolation

ALWAYS THINK POSITIVE THOUGHTS ABOUT YOURSELF

You have just done one of the most courageous things ever!

TAKE SOME TIME FOR YOU! LOVE YOURSELF! YOU ARE AMAZING!

Thank you for joining Right-On with HFG. We look forward to seeing you next Wednesday June 11 for our weekly Right-On conversation

The topic for next week is – Effects of Domestic Violence on Children

Please email your questions and comments to right-on@hfgfamilies.com

If you would like more information on the HFG support group please email info@hfgfamilies.com

Have a great day! HFG Hugs!!