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Safety Planning

If You Need Help Right Now, click here. Planning to leave or leaving an abusive relationship is a high risk time. There is an increased risk of danger during this time. According to an analysis of 267 domestic violence deaths in Ontario between 2003-2015, there was actual or pending separation in 69% of those cases.

If you or someone you know is planning to leave an abusive relationship, it is important to have a Safety Plan. Try to find a support organization to help you make your safety plan. To find resources and organizations in your area, click here.

Safety Plan Templates

Here are some Safety Plans you can download and use:

What else should I keep in mind for my Safety Plan?

While you are living with abuse

  • Have a plan about how you could get out of your home in an emergency and where you would go - tell your children about it, and if you can, practice
  • Talk to your kids - tell them that the abuse isn’t your fault or their fault, and teach them what to do if there is violence (for example, a code word that tells them to leave)
  • If you can, ask your neighbours, friends and family to call the police if they hear what sounds like abuse or violence, and to watch your kids if there is an emergency. Have a code word you can tell your neighbour, friend or, which indicates that you are in an emergency situation and they should contact the police.
  • Have a list of phone numbers to call for help in an emergency or crisis
  • Think about the past experience of violence so that you can try to predict the danger you are in, and leave
  • Try to make sure weapons and ammunition are hidden or removed from your home
  • If a fight is starting, try to move to a room or area from which you can go outside and avoid any rooms that might have potential weapons (e.g. kitchen, bathroom, garage)
  • If you are being hit, you can protect your face by putting your arms around each side of your face and locking your fingers
  • Hide your keys, cell phone, and money near the way you would leave in an emergency or crisis

While you are preparing for leaving

  • Do not share that you are planning on leaving
  • Contact a support organization to get help in safety planning (you could call the police or a women’s shelter) including finding a shelter you could go to
  • Try to get your important documents together (ID, bank cards, financial paperwork, immigration documents, passports, health cards, personal phone book, legal documents, anything that shows your shared address, etc.) along with keys, medication, pictures of your kids as well as the person abusing you.
  • Set aside cash and also open a bank account in your name
  • If you can make copies of your documents, have someone you trust hold onto the copies for you. See if you can scan the documents and keep a safe electronic file of them
  • Talk to your children about the safety planning so that they understand it, and understand that they shouldn’t tell the person abusing you
  • Talk to your kids’ school and give them a picture of the abuser
  • Talk to a lawyer or get other legal support if you can
  • If you have a car, park it by backing it into the driveway and keep the gas tank full
  • Keep a log of violent incidents and any proof of physical abuse (photographs, notes from doctor or hospital if you have been treated)
  • Put together things that are of personal value (like photographs, jewellery) and some toys or other personal items for your kids - pack them in a way that would be easy to retrieve
  • Let your employer know so that your workplace can have a safety plan also
  • Clear your phone history, change passwords, etc. Know how to erase your tracks online
  • Know the best time to leave - when the person who is abusing you is not at home

When you are ready to leave

  • Get accompaniment from a friend, family member or neighbour when you leave, or request a police escort
  • Get to a safe place that the person abusing you won’t know - like a shelter that you could contact a little in advance
  • Do not say that you are leaving
  • Have a back-up plan if your plan of leaving is found out

After you have left

  • Contact support organizations who can help you with applying for a restraining order or peace bond and with getting legal advice to protect you and your children
  • Provide police a copy of any legal orders you have
  • If you get a telephone number, get an unlisted number, caller ID and the option to block your number when you make calls
  • Make sure your kids’ school or day care is updated, especially if there are legal orders
  • Carry photos of your kids as well as the person who abused you
  • Ask your neighbours to call the police if they see the person who abused you
  • Think about places and patterns or routes that would be known by your abuser - and try to change them (e.g. go to a different grocery store)
  • If you do not feel comfortable walking alone, try asking a neighbour, friend or family member to join you
  • Do not return to your home alone
  • Do not confront the person who abused you