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Safety first


The following are strategies from women who have lived through an abusive relationship.



Figure out a signal or code for the neighbors, friends and family to call the police. For example, have an object in the front window that can be added or removed to the window sill. Teach your children to call the police, or go to a neighbour’s and call someone.


Keep in mind that your in-laws are his parents; share your plans, dreams, and other information with them with caution.


Never put anything in your purse or other obvious place that you don’t want him to find out about, read, or find.


Hide the emergency money in anything you know he would never use such as the laundry soap box or feminine hygiene product boxes or packages.


Store, bury or hide a set of the house keys and car keys somewhere outside of your home.


Keep a journal in the event of appearing in court.




  • If you have a phone where the call history is displayed always make sure to delete the history of calls you don’t want him to know about.

  • If you have a phone with the “redial” function, make sure a call you want to keep secret was not the last call dialed. After you make a secret call hang up and call a number he wouldn’t be suspicious of.

  • If you want to hide the number you are calling from hit *67 before you dial from a land line or “block caller id” on your cell phone or just use a pay phone. The “block caller id” function will generally be found in the “settings” menu of your cell phone. If you don’t know how to do this call your cell phone provider to find out how.


  • Make sure to erase your internet history regularly so that he does not become suspicious when the history is gone all at once. 

  • Another way would be to only delete your Internet browsing for the past hour.



  • Think of at least 2-4 places you can go if you leave your home. A friend, relative, shelter, hotel, or a co-worker can all provide you with a place to go – please see the ‘resources’ section or ‘need help now?’  for immediate contacts.

  • How will you get out of the house? Some women take out the garbage, walk the dog, get the newspaper or offer to get him cigarettes. Set up a routine where it is normal for you to regularly leave for a short time.

  • Open your own savings account.

  • Rehearse your escape route with a support person/coworker and review your safety plan periodically.

  • Keep change for phone calls with you at all times or get your own (secret) cell phone.

  • Your and your children’s lives and safety are most important. Everything else is secondary.


IMPORTANT: Prepare before hand to have the following items with you when you leave (or have copies in a separate place outside the home)!

  • Money, bank books, credit cards

  • Driver’s license and registration documents

  • Birth certificates/Passports for you and your children

  • School and medical records

  • Lease/rental agreements

  • Keys – house/car/office

  • Insurance papers

  • Mortgage documents, current unpaid bills

  • Vaccination books/cards

  • Children’s favorite toys, ipods,blankets, pictures etc.



After the relationship is over, you still need to take  extra care! If you decide return to the same home

  • Change the locks (windows and doors), fitting a spy hole in the door and chain, a security system, smoke detectors and an outside lighting system. Contact  a domestic violence organization which may be able to arrange for an agency to supply and fit locks, chains and spy holes free of charge under these circumstances.

  • Get a restraining order and about telling a couple of neighbors that your partner no longer lives with you and ask them to call the police if he/she is observed near your home or children.

  • If your children are at school  inform your child’s teacher/principal of your circumstances.  Tell people who take care of your children the names of those who have permission to pick them up.

  • If you have a restraining order which names your children and/or abuser, give their caretakers and their schools a copy of the order. They will appreciate information that may affect the safety of children under their care while on school premises. Also bear in mind that a father has parental responsibility and the school will not be in a position to refuse a parent from collecting his/her child, unless a court order is in force preventing this action.

  • Tell someone at work about your situation and ask that person to help screen your calls and keep a journal. Since domestic violence is a criminal act workmans compensation/help (CSST- Quebec) can be applied for. You may have a supervisor or colleague you can inform. Give the supervisor or personnel manager a copy of the restraining order.

  • Think about someone you can call if you feel down and are thinking about returning to your abusive partner.

  • Think about attending workshops and support groups to gain support and strengthen your relationships with other people who have been through the same experience.

Stay strong and corageous, it is not only possible for you to live a peaceful life but an empowered one of safety and freedom.


Violence frequently gets worse when you try to leave or show signs of independence.

Your partner may / will become desperate.

Take special care. You do not have control over your partner’s violence but you do have a choices and options about how to react and leave / escape the violence.

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