If Leaving an Abusive Relationship:

The most important thing for a woman and her children is safety. In an emergency, leave as quickly as possible. If you are unable to take anything when you leave, you can return home with a police escort to gather personal belongings. If you do have time, try to take as many of the following items as possible:

  • Important documents, such as:
    • Birth certificates
    • Passports
    • Citizenship papers
    • Immigration papers
    • Child custody papers
    • Court orders (such as a peace bond)
    • Health cards
    • Your social insurance card and your partner’s social insurance number
    • It is also important to have proof of cohabitation, such as a lease/rental agreement, house deed, mortgage payment book, or bill (anything with both you and your spouses name on it)
  • Money, credit cards
  • Medicine
  • Driver’s licence and car keys
  • Children’s favourite toys
  • Clothing for a few days

Living with an Abusive Partner:

There are many things a woman can do to increase her and her children’s safety. It may not be possible to do everything at once, but safety measures can be added step-by-step over time. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Plan for an emergency exit. Make sure you and your children are familiar with possible exits in the home, the neighbourhood, where well lit areas and payphones are, and if you can go to a neighbour’s home. Connect with an Outreach Worker from a women’s shelter. They can assist in safety planning and creating a plan to leave.
  2. Pack a bag and hide it in a safe place or keep it at a friend’s house. In the event that you need to leave quickly, you can grab the bag.
  3. Keep at least $15 set aside in a safe place that can get you a cab in case of emergency.
  4. Notice what triggers your partner’s violence and abuse. This can help you predict the next likely incident and give you a chance to prepare.
  5. Teach your children to use the telephone/cellphone to contact the police and fire department. Also teach them your own address, and that of a close family and/or friend.
  6. Arrange to have friend’s and/or family check in (by phone or in person) at certain times.
  7. Consider a plan for the safety and well-being of your pet(s) such as making arrangements for friends/family to take care of them. You can also inquire with shelters about their policies regarding pets.
  8. Be aware of any weapons in the home and your partner’s access to weapons.
  9. Create a code word with your children and/or family/friends so they know when to call for help.
  10. When using the computer, be aware that your abuser may track the websites you have visited. View our information on how to hide internet activity here.

Additional Notes:

  • When trying to leave your home, take the children 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.
  • If you have left your home, the police can escort you back later to remove additional personal belongings.
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