Even if you are not ready to leave your home, there are many things you can do to protect yourself and your children both in the present sense and for the future.
Home Security Place
- Put the emergency phone number of the police on the telephone.
- Teach your children how to dial 911 and to give your address, if needed, assuring that they know how to call only when there is trouble.
- Try to predict when the violence might occur and simply leave before it starts, or send for help. Find/create a supportive environment for yourself and any children of yours.
- Call 911 if you or your children are in danger.
- Follow through a charge of assault and testify to any charge that the police/Crown Counsel have laid.
- Plan where you would go in an emergency if you have to leave.
- Consult a Lawyer and choose one that you find you can trust; know your rights. For example, know the reason that you should take your child(ren) with you when and if you leave (unless he has a custody order giving him custody) and of the need to get a custody and maintenance order, once you have left; and about possibility of a sole occupancy of home order.
- Keep extra car keys, money and clothes in a hidden place or at a friend’s. Keep twenty dollars pinned to your clothes.
- Familiarize yourself with the family finances and save money for an emergency in a separate bank account.
- Keep your health records, birth certificates, passports and those of your children, as well as any other important papers in one place.
- Keep your friends and neighbours informed of the violence or threats. their evidence may later be useful.
- Keep a diary and write down dates/times/what happened/who saw what happened; notes may later be used in court.
- Preserve evidence such as written notes of apology, and bank statements, court and other documents.
- Prepare to support yourself by taking courses or re-entering the work force.
- Find out about support for yourself at Women’s Centre’s & Transition Houses. Investigate and make use of any self-help groups in your community that can help.
- Find a counselor who will build up your self-confidence and help you to recover your strength, to change your situation from that of being a victim of violence to that of having more control of your life.
- Use a code word i.e. phone a friend.
Adapted from: The Canadian Woman’s Legal Guide and other general sources.
- Always carry a copy of your protection order with you at all times in a zip lock bag
- Inform your workplace/security of your situation and give them a copy of your protection order
- If possible, avoid public places that you used while residing with the abuser