When you are planning to leave, here are some suggestions:
- Contact the police or a local women’s shelter. Let the staff know that you intend to leave an abusive situation and ask for support in safety planning. Ask for an officer who specializes in woman abuse cases (information shared with the police may result in charges being laid against the abuser).
- If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you. Ask them to document your visit.
- Gather important documents: identification, bank cards, financial papers related to your family assets, last Canada Income Tax Return, keys, medication, pictures of the abuser and your children, passports, health cards, personal address/telephone book, cell phone, and legal documents (e.g. immigration papers, house deed/lease, restraining orders/peace bonds).
- If you can’t keep these things stored in your home for fear you partner will find them, consider making copies and leave them them with someone you trust. Your local women’s shelter will also keep them for you.
- Consult a lawyer. Keep any evidence of physical abuse (such as photos). Keep a journal of all violent incidents, noting dates, events, threats and any witnesses.
- Put together pictures, jewelry and objects of sentimental value, as well as toys and comforts for your children.
- Arrange with someone to care for your pets temporarily, until you get settled. A shelter may help with this.
- Remember to clear your phone of the last number you called to avoid the abuser utilizing redial.