POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 85 If you are planning to leave (non-emergency) • Contact a local women's shelter (even if they are unable to take in abused men, women's shelters will usually have information to help all victims of abuse). Let them know that you intend to leave an abusive situation and ask for support in safety planning. • Consider contacting the police. Ask for an officer who specializes in partner abuse cases. • Gather important documents. • Consult a lawyer. Keep any evidence of physical abuse (such as photos). Keep a journal of all violent incidents, noting dates, events, threats and any witnesses. • Put together pictures, jewelry and objects of sentimental value, as well as toys and comforts for your children. • Arrange with someone to care for your pets temporarily, until you get settled. A shelter may help with this. • Remember to clear your phone of the last number you called to avoid the abuser using redial. • Remember to clear your computer. As you leave • Request a police escort or ask a friend, neighbour or family member to accompany you when you leave. • Do not tell your partner you are leaving. • Leave quickly. • Have a back-up plan if your partner finds out where you are going. After leaving Here are some actions you should take after you or your partner has left the relationship: • If you are staying in the home, change the locks and get an unlisted phone number and caller ID. • Block your number when calling out. • Change computer and other passwords. • Consider applying for a restraining order or peace bond that may help keep your partner away from you and your children. Keep it with you at all times. • Provide police with a copy of any legal orders you have. • Consider changing any service provider that you share with your ex-partner. • Carry a photo of the abuser and your children with you. • Take extra precautions at work, at home and in the community. Consider telling your supervisor at work about your situation. • Think about places and patterns that your ex-partner will know about and try to change them. For example, consider using a different grocery store. • If you feel unsafe walking alone, ask a neighbour, friend or family member to accompany you. • Do not return to your home unless accompanied by the police. Never confront the abuser. 3. Talk to your children In advance • Tell your children that abuse is never right, even when someone they love is being abusive. • Tell them the abuse isn't your fault or their fault; they did not cause it, and neither did you. • Teach them that it's important to keep safe when there is abuse. • Teach your children how to get help. Tell them not to get between you and your partner if there is violence. • Create a plan to get out of your home safely and practice it with your children. • Together, pick a safe place in the house where they can hide if the violence starts -ideally with a locked door and a phone that the abuser can't see. • Agree on a code word so they will know when to call for help. In an emergency • Teach children how to call the police and stay on the phone until the police arrive. • Have them practice their full name and address and what to say about the violence. • Don't run to a place where the children are, as your partner may hurt them as well. • Pick a safe place to meet outside so that you can easily find each other. HOW TO PLAN FOR YOUR SAFETY ...continued ...continued