Escape and Safety Planning
Counsellors are available to support you and assist with a safety plan. Call the 24-Hour Family Violence Helpline: 403.234.7233 (SAFE).
If you have to leave your essentials behind, the Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter will provide you with the basics to help you get a fresh start. If needed, the police may be able to escort you back home to gather any items left behind. Some women have found it useful to get some items ready to bring with them if they have to leave quickly. You may want to hide your items in a secret location or at the home of friend or family member you trust. Many women keep their safety plan secret and only tell people they absolutely trust.
Some items to pack in your secret suitcase include:
- special toys and comforts for your children
- a secret personal bank account with a bank card
- medication and medical records or prescriptions
- meaningful photos, photo of abuser and children
- photocopies of important documents for you and your children
- lease/rental or mortgage agreements
- divorce papers
- custody documents
- restraining orders
- marriage certificate
- work permits
- birth certificates
- school records
- vaccination records
- welfare identification
- photocopies of credit cards
- health cards
- extra copies of keys
- a list of items to come back for if you flee, and cash
A purse and wallet (kept nearby so they can be easily accessed) should contain your keys to the car, office and house, bank book, bank cards and credit cards, healthcare cards (for you and your children), social insurance card, driver's license, registration and insurance, up-to-date address book, photos of your children and abuser and cash.
Everyone's situation is different. You may want to consider the following:
- What do I say if get caught preparing to leave?
- If you should tell a neighbour to call the police if they hear suspicious noises?
- What are the best ways to get out of the house?
- Should I set up a code word with my children to tell them to go to a safe place if my abuser is being violent?
Click here for a Safety Planning Guide, with safety tips. Counsellors can help clients create a customized plan.