Preparing to Leave

If you question your safety or your children's safety, consider the following:

If you are in danger now:

Call 911. If you cannot speak, dial 911 and leave the phone off the hook. Police will automatically be dispatched.

If you are not in immediate danger:

You can call your local crisis line for support, the Interval House of Ottawa crisis line at 613-234-5181, or the Assaulted Women's Helpline at 1-866-863-0511.

If you are not in immediate danger but you are planning to leave, here are some important safety and wellness issues for you to consider. If you can, any safety planning you can do will help you. 

Safety Planning

Safety plans involve identifying specific action steps to increase your safety and helps to prepare you in advance for the possibility of further violence. Some tips are listed below, but do not feel that you need to do everything at once. Start with the items that seem most tangible for you at the time. You can call our crisis line at 613-234-5181 for support to develop a safety plan.

As you prepare to leave:

  • Do not tell your abuser that you're thinking of leaving. If possible, it is best to leave while your abuser is out of the home.

  • When you do leave, take your children with you if it is safe to do so.

  • Plan your emergency exits. Identify which doors, windows, elevator or stairs would be safe and easily accessible.

  • Consider the safe transportation options available (e.g. car, bus, taxi, friend, etc.).

  • Keep emergency phone numbers with you at all times.

  • Open a bank account in your name. Request paperless statements to ensure that bank statements are not mailed to your house.

  • Hide extra clothing, house keys, money, etc. at the house of a trusted friend.

  • Have an emergency bag packed and keep it somewhere accessible in order to leave quickly. If you can, include some special toys and comfort for your children such as a favourite toy or blanket, as well as irreplaceable and sentimental items such as photographs.

  • Take important documents with you, such as:

    • Passports​

    • Birth certificates

    • Immigration papers

    • Health cards

    • SIN cards

    • Banking cards

    • Restraining orders

    • Custody papers

    • Lease or rental agreements

    • If possible, bring documents that prove you have been living at the same address as your abuser, such as a copy of the lease.​

You know your situation best. Always trust your own instincts.

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