A safety plan is a comprehensive plan for protecting yourself and your children from domestic violence. Creating a safety plan involves identifying action steps to increase your safety, and to prepare in advance for the possibility of further violence.
- Call the Police if you are being abused, assaulted in any way
- Know your exact address including 911#
- Teach your children, if present to go to a pre-arranged safe location and call 911.
- Keep extra money, clothing, car/house keys, a few toys, medications, important papers (Identification, Health Cards, SIN, Bank, credit cards, passports, custody orders) hidden and easy to grab when you need them
- Keep your gas tank at least ½ full
- If you feel you are in danger now, go to a safe place
- Plan a safe place to go to and how to get there
- Do not tell your partner that you are planning to leave
- Take your children with you when you leave, if possible
- Let others you trust know about the abuse
- Ask neighbours to call the police if they think you need help
- To avoid traced phone calls, hang-up and dial your #
- It is important to become familiar with your safety plan and review/revise regularly.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE SAFE
If you are a woman experiencing violence you should have a safety plan for getting out of the house.
There are some important documents that you need to have with you. Copy and collect all important documents and place them in a safe place.
- Your O.H.I.P Health Care and Social Insurance Cards
- Driver’s license/Registration
- Credit cards and bank card
- Personal identification (including picture ID)
- Birth certificate
- Immunization card for the children
- Custody order
- Personal cheque book
- Last banking statement
- Mortgage papers
When leaving an abusive situation you should also make sure you take personal items such as:
- Prescribed medication
- Personal hygiene products
- Glasses/contact lenses
- Money (if possible)
- Clothing including nightwear, underwear
- Heirlooms, jewellery
- Photo albums (pictures that you want to keep)
For your children, you should also try to bring with you:
- Soother/ bottles
- Clothing (night wear, underwear)
- Special blanket and/or toy
Interim custody is a temporary custody order which lasts until a judge makes a final decision on custody of your child/children
- It can be a good idea to apply for interim custody if you have had to leave the family home and go to a shelter or other safe place.
- If there is no custody order in existence after you have left with the children, and you have not let your spouse see them, there is a possibility that you can be charged with criminal abduction of the children.
- To obtain an order for interim custody you have to make an application to a family court for an order to vary the normal situation of both parents having custody of the children.
- If you can, make some preparations before you leave, for example, save some money for legal fees, maybe get some legal advice.
- Seek legal advice from a lawyer who practices in the area of family law.
- Legal Aid is available for custody matters. See www.legalaid.ab.ca for information and for a list of Legal Aid offices.
- An order for interim custody can be made by the court on very short notice, for example, within 24 hours.
- When considering an application for custody, the judge will look at what is in the best interests of the child. Therefore, be prepared to have evidence to show why the children should be with you.
If you are a woman experiencing violence you should have an escape plan on how to get out of the house.
- Make sure you have important documents
- Save money in secret when you can
- Find a safe place to go: friends, shelter, family
- Keep extra keys and clothes with friends
- Secure transportation
- Work out a signal system with a friend
- Go when he is gone
- Don’t tell him you are leaving
- Create an excuse to slip away