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Create A Safety Plan

There are many different situations where you may want to have a safety plan. Whether it is while you are staying at WIN House or after you leave, having a plan of action can help you feel more confident as you move forward with your new journey. 

Below covers a few areas where having a safety plan might be helpful, like:

  • During a violent episode;

  • Staying in Shelter;

  • Taking a bus or taxi; and

  • After you leave a shelter.

Finding a Safe Place During a Violent Incident

  • If you have been sexually assaulted, and if you choose to get medical assistance. Go directly to a hospital where a trained professional will examine you to collect evidence. It is important for you not to bathe or shower prior.

  • If an argument seems unavoidable, try to move to a room or area with easy access to an exit. (Avoid entering a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere near possible weapons.)

  • Never let the abuser come between you and your exit out of the house. If you are able to leave safely, run to a neighbour and call 911.

  • Consider giving the abuser what they want in order to defuse a dangerous situation until you are able to leave safely.

  • If you have the opportunity, call the shelter or 24 hour crisis line at 780-479-0058, and use your code words if applicable.

  • You have every right to protect yourself when you are in a dangerous situation. You DO NOT deserve to be abused.

  • Try to make as much noise as possible (set off the fire alarm, break things, turn up the stereo or TV). By doing any of these things, there will be a higher chance your neighbours will call the police for you, if you are unable to do so yourself.

Safety Planning While You’re in a Shelter

  • Make a safety call to the police if you feel it is necessary. If you do not own a cell phone, an emergency phone will be provided to you by the shelter, which you may keep with you at all times until your discharge date.

  • In addition to an emergency cell phone, a personal alarm may also be provided to you by the shelter. In case of an emergency, pulling the string on the alarm triggers a high-pitch noise, which could scare off your abuser by surprising them, and will attract the attention of others in the area.

  • Try to travel in pairs whenever possible.

  • Keep your cell phone charged and with you at all times. Be mindful of location settings on your cellphone, and turn them off to avoid your abuser being able to find your location.

  • Avoid taking shortcuts.

  • Travel in well lit, populated areas, especially at night.

  • Avoid wearing headphones while walking outdoors, as you may not be able to hear anyone approaching you.

  • If you think you are being followed, trust your instincts and take action. Try to cross the road and turn to see who is behind you. If you are still being followed, try to cross the road again. Try to keep moving and make your way to a busy area, and report to anyone who may be able to help you.

  • If a vehicle pulls up suddenly alongside you, turn and walk in the other direction (you can turn much faster than a car).

  • If you are trapped or in danger, try to yell or scream. You voice is your best defence. If possible, call the police at 911.

Safety Planning While Using Public Transit or a Taxi

  • Always try to be in the back seat, not in front seat next to the driver.

  • It is best not to give personal information or discuss your personal business with the driver. Do not disclose any information about why you’re there, or your story (have good boundaries), or anyone else you meet at the shelter (never give any names).

  • Try to have a code word to use when you are not feeling safe in the taxi. You can phone 911 or 780-479-0058 with your cell phone to get help. If you do not own a cell phone, you can call 911 by using the emergency cell phone that will be provided to you by the shelter.

  • If the driver asks or continues to ask personal questions and refuses to respect your privacy, ask the driver to let you off at the nearest public place (e.g. gas station, etc.).

  • Make sure you have the driver’s name, physical description, etc.

  • Show self confidence. Let them know if they continue with their questions, you will contact their supervisor.

  • Notify someone (friend, family, or frontline staff) that you have arrived safely at your destination.

  • Trust your own instincts! If you feel something is wrong, go with your gut feeling.

  • Familiarize yourself with the vehicle; does the door have locks at the front, window locks, master locks?

  • Never be afraid to roll down the window and yell for help if you have to. 

Safety Planning for When You are Discharged from a Shelter

  • Keep your cell phone charged and with you at all times, and carry a personal safety alarm if possible. 

  • Provide frontline staff with a code word in case you are in danger, and keep the shelter’s phone number with you at all times.

  • You may want to change the locks and put bars on the windows if you think your abuser has a key. You may also want to install a security system, smoke detector, and outside lighting system.

  • Keep copies of any court orders with you at all times. Also, give copies of these orders to school, daycare, and work, and ask them to contact you if they see your abuser. Give these people copies of your abusers photograph so they can recognize them.

  • Try to install a peephole you and your children can use.

  • You can get features such as call blocking, call display, and speed dial to increase your safety.

  • You can make sure your name is not on your mailbox or in an apartment directory.

  • You may want to change your doctor, dentist, or other professional services if you think your abuser may track you down there.

  • Keep your emergency escape plan items with a friend or family member.

  • If you move to another town or district, notify the local police of the court order, your new location, and your abuser’s history or violent behavior.

  • Try to remember you have been through a lot and may be feeling exhausted and emotionally drained. Know that building a new life free of violence takes a great deal of courage and requires a lot of energy.

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