Are you experiencing abuse? Do you fear for your safety? Thinking about leaving your relationship? Listed are practical suggestions to help you prepare to leave.

If you are experiencing violence in your relationship, please call our 24 hour support line 604-892-5711. Trained support workers are available to help guide you through your options even if you are not ready to end the relationship.

Your safety is most important. If you are in immediate danger, call 911 right away.

 

1. Decide where you will go if you have to leave your home. In the event you have to leave your home suddenly, plan a safe place to go in advance. Where could you go for a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks? Memorize the address and telephone number. Need to access Pearl’s Place Transition House or Pearl’s Safe Home? Call 604-892-5711 or 1-877-890-5711 for short term shelter or housing.

2. Create a safety plan. The level of risk increases for women when the abuser believes she is leaving the relationship. Although you do not have control over your partner’s violence, you can identify strategies to increase your safety and prepare in advance for the possibility of further violence. For example, plan your emergency exits. Think about safe areas of the house where there are no weapons and where there are at least two ways to escape. Connect with our support workers to develop a personalized safety plan.

3. Gather or keep copies of important documents. Place the following items (or copies of important documents) in one location for easy access to grab if you have to leave quickly. If that isn’t safe, store the items outside the home or give copies of documents to someone you trust.

  • Driver’s license or ID
  • Birth certificates, CareCards, Social Insurance Cards (SIN), Status Cards
  • Medications and prescriptions
  • Cheque book and bank book
  • Money, debit and credit cards
  • Lease/rental agreement, house deed, mortgage papers
  • Marriage license, divorce papers, protection order
  • Insurance papers (car, home, health)
  • Passports, citizenship or immigration documents, work permits

You can make photocopies at the Women’s Centre free of charge.

4. Put an extra set of keys for the house and car in a safe place that you can grab easily.     

5. Set money aside. Only do this if it is safe to do so or can be done without the abuser noticing. Consider opening up a separate savings account for yourself. Make sure no bank statements or calls are made to you. Consider using a trusted family member or friend’s address and phone number to open the account.

6. Get legal advice. Consult a lawyer about how to protect yourself and your children, what to do about the family home and money. Can’t afford legal help? Contact the Women’s Centre for information about free or low cost legal resources or click here.

7. Take your children with you. If you have to leave the family home, it is important to take your children with you. “It will help you protect them and improve your chances of getting the parenting orders you want later.” [1]

If your partner will not let you take the children, get legal advice right away. A lawyer might be able to help you get an interim parenting order or a protection order to get the children to safety. If you cannot afford your own lawyer, you can talk to family duty counsel or a family justice counsellor for free.

8. Request a police escort. You can request a police escort when you leave or ask a police officer to accompany you if you need to return to the family home to get your personal belongings. The police will stay with you while you gather your things to ensure your safety.

9. Apply for an “order without notice” also known as an interim order or ex-parte order. This is an emergency parenting order that your ex partner does not have to be notified about beforehand. You will have to explain why it is urgent and why your partner should not be notified.

10. Apply for a protection order. Consider getting a court order that prohibits your partner from contacting you. You will have to prove that you have reasonable fear of your partner to apply for this order. You can get a protection order in the form of a peace bond in criminal court or a family law protection order in family court.

Additional Supports

Stopping The Violence Counselling: (Squamish) 604-892-5796 / (Whistler/Pemberton) 604-698-6909 or 1-877-894-6106

RCMP Victim Services: (Squamish) 604-892-6100 / (Whistler/Pemberton) 604-905-1969

VictimLink: 1-800-563-0808

WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre: 1-604-255-6344


[1] Surviving Relationship Violence and Abuse, Legal Services Society, 2013. Available:

http://resources.lss.bc.ca/pdfs/pubs/Surviving-Relationship-Violence-and-Abuse-eng.pdf