Hamilton Health Sciences

Domestic Violence FAQ's

Safety Planning
Whether you decide to remain with your partner or leave the relationship, the following guide provides some information to increase your safety, though by no means guarantees it.


Items Required in case of Emergency:

- Passports, birth certificates, immigration papers
- School and vaccination records
- Medications, prescriptions, medical records
- Social assistance identification
- Work permits
- Divorce papers, custody documentation, court orders, restraining orders, marriage certificate
- Lease/rental agreement, house deed, mortgage record
- Bank books
- Insurance paers
- Address/telephone book
- Picture of spouse/partner
- Health cards
- All cards you normally use (e.g. VISA, phone, social insurance)

FORMAL SUPPORTS (Organizations you can go to for help):

- Women's Centres
- Shelters
- Immigrant Women's Centres
- Aboriginal Women Centres

INFORMAL SUPPORTS (Getting help from friends and neighbours):

Tell your neighbors to call the police if they hear a fight or screaming in your house.

Tell the people who take care of your children which people have permission to pick up your children.

Tell people in your neighborhood that your partner no longer lives with you, and they should call the police if s/he is seen near your home. You may want to give them a picture and a description of their car.

Ask your neighbors to look after your children in an emergency.

Hide clothing and your Emergency Escape Plan items at a neighbour's house.


Start to position yourself to get out quickly or near a phone so you can call 911, if necessary.

If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area that has access to an exit. Avoid the bathroom, kitchen or anywhere near weapons.

Use a code word with your children so they know to call for help.

Use your judgment and intuition - if the situation is very serious, you can agree with your partner or give him/her what s/he wants to calm him/her down. You have to protect yourself until you are out of danger.

When or after you have been assaulted, call the police at 911 if you can. Leave the phone off the hook after your call.

Make as much noise as possible so that the neighbour's may call the police for you.


Identify who would let you stay with them and/or lend you money.

Always try to take your children with you or make arrangements to leave them with someone safe. If you try to get them later, the police cannot help you remove them from the other parent unless you have a valid court order.

Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents and extra clothes with someone you trust.

Open a savings account in your own name and start to establish or increase your independence. Arrange that no bank statements or other calls are made to your home.

Keep shelter numbers close at hand and keep change or a calling card with you at all times.

Consider getting a safety deposit box at a bank that your partner does not go to.


Have your children pick a safe room/place in the house, preferably with a lock on the door and a phone.

The first step of any plan is for the children to get out of the room where the abuse is occurring.

Stress the importance of being safe, and that it is not the child's responsibility to make sure their mother is safe.

Teach your children how to call for help. It is important that children know they should not use a phone that is in view of the abuser. This puts them at risk. Talk to your child about using a neighbour's phone or a pay phone if they can not use a phone at home. If you have a cell phone teach your child how to use it.

Ensure children know their full name and address.

Rehearse the telephone call with your child.

It is important for the child to leave the phone off the hook so that the police do not call back.


The shelter will need to ask you a number of questions over the telephone to ensure you and your children go to the shelter that is most appropriate

The shelter will be a communal living setting and thus you will need to live co-operatively with other residents

Not all shelters provide child care or transportation
Hamilton Health Sciences • Hamilton, Ontario • 905.521.2100

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