November starts the 16 Days of Activism which is focused on violence against women, most often in the forms of domestic violence. So in honour of our ongoing conversations about gendered violence, oppression and relationship violence, we have a blog post focused on what you might be able to do when thinking of trying to get out of a domestic violent relationship. In particular, information about creating an emergency escape plan.
There are many emergency escape plans out there and they all look more or less similar or the same. The information in the following post has come from a variety of safety plans over the years and look just like many other safety plans you will find online. While there has been no attempt to copy someone one else’s information, it would be impossible for this to post to not look just like a handful more out there since the information is almost exactly the same.
Creating An Emergency Escape Plan
The Emergency Escape Plan focuses on the things you can do in advance to be better prepared in case you have to leave an abusive situation very quickly.
The following is a list of items you should try to set aside and hide in a safe place (e.g., at a friend’s house, family member’s home, at work, with your lawyer, in a safety deposit box).
Take a photocopy of the following items and store in a safe place away from the originals. Put the original copies somewhere else if you can:
Passports, birth certificates and immigration papers for all family members
School and vaccination records
Driver’s license and registration
Medications, prescriptions and medical records for all family members
Divorce papers, custody documentation, court orders, restraining orders, marriage certificate, divorce decree, powers of attorney, wills
Lease/rental agreement, house deed, mortgage payment book, income tax materials
Picture of spouse or partner
Health cards for all family members
All cards you use regularly (e.g. Visa, phone cards, social insurance card, your ATM card)
Try to keep all of the cards you normally use in your wallet:
Social insurance cards
Try to keep your wallet or purse handy and ensure it has the following in it:
Car, house, office, safety deposit box, and /or mail keys
Chequebook, bank book and/or statements
Driver’s license, registration and insurance papers
Picture of your spouse or partner
Emergency money (cash) hidden away
Try to keep the following items handy, so you can grab them quickly:
Cell phone and charger
Emergency suitcase with immediate needs
Special toys, or comforts for your children
Jewelry, special photos/certificates
Small saleable objects
Items of special sentimental value
A list of other items you would like to take if you get a chance to come back to your home later
Try to make the following arrangements and plans in case you need to leave home suddenly:
Open a bank account in your own name and arrange that no bank statements be sent or calls made to you. Or, arrange that mail be sent to a trusted friend or family member.
Save and set aside as much money as you can from whatever sources you can.
Set aside, in a place you can get to quickly, $10 to $20 for cab fare, and quarters for a payphone.
Plan your emergency exits.
Plan and rehearse the steps you will take if you have to leave quickly. Learn them well.
Hide extra clothing, house keys, car keys, money, or anything else you might need, at a trusted friend’s house.
Back your car into the driveway. Make sure there is always gas in it, and that you keep it locked.
Consider getting a safety deposit box at a bank that your partner does not go to.
Consider consulting a lawyer and keeping any evidence of abuse, such as photos and/or a journal of all violent incidents (dates, events, threats, any witnesses, etc).
Arrange with someone to care for your children and pets temporarily if you have to leave without them.
Keep an emergency suitcase packed, or ready to be packed quickly.
Consider going to your local women’s shelter. It may be a safer temporary spot than going to a place your partner knows.
Have a back-up plan if your partner finds out where you are going.
Consider reporting the abuse to the police. Know that the police may charge the abuser regardless of your wishes if they believe the evidence warrants it.
Consider applying for a restraining order or peace bond that may help keep your partner away from you and your children.
The police can bring you back to the home later to remove additional personal belongings or they can meet you there. Take the items listed above, as well as anything else that is important to you or your children.
When you leave, take the children if you can. If you try to get them later the police cannot help you remove them from their other parent unless you have a valid court order.
For more information, please visit Personalized Safety Plan