Safety Planning & Preparing to Leave

Law

There are steps you can take to keep yourself safer when leaving an abusive situation. See the sections below for information about making a safety plan, including:

  • What a safety plan is
  • What to include in a safety plan
  • Safety planning if you have children
  • Safety planning for victims of elder abuse
  • Safety planning if you have pets
  • Staying safe after you leave an abusive relationships
  • Places that can help you before and after you leave an abusive situation

Choose the Process tab above for worksheets and templates to help you make a safety plan, as well as contact information for organizations that can help you.

Please read “Who is this Information Page for?” below to make sure you are on the right page.

LegalAve provides general legal information, not legal advice. Learn more here.

Last Reviewed: May 2017
How to be safe on the internet

It is helpful to know how to look at things on the internet safely. You might not want someone else to see what you are looking at. Or you might want to learn how to delete your internet history, which shows which sites you have looked at. You might also not feel safe looking at family violence information, especially if you are in an abusive relationship and are afraid of your abuser.

For instructions on how to look at things on the internet safely and how to delete your browser history, see the Safe Browsing page.

For more information and tips about how to be safe on the internet, see the following resources.

Web Safe Browsing Tips: Computer, Phone and Tablet
domesticshelters.org
English
 
Web Protecting Your Email
domesticshelters.org
English

How to be safe on the phone

It is also helpful to know how to be safe when using the phone. Sometimes, when you make calls, the call history can be seen on your phone, or someone can hit “redial” to see who you last called. Or, you might just not want someone else to hear what you are talking about or asking for help about. This is especially true if you are in an abusive relationship. You may be afraid that the abuser will find out who you have been talking to. You might not feel safe calling for help—even in your own home.

For more information and tips about how to call for help safely, see the following resources.

Web How to Call for Help Safely
Alberta Council of Women's Shelters
English
 
Web How to Spy Spyware on Your Phone
domesticshelters.org
English

Web Apps Help Survivors' Messages Stay Secret
domesticshelters.org
English
Who is this Information Page for?

Safety planning is a way to prepare yourself for dealing with or leaving an abusive situation. It can be used for you alone, for you and your children, or even for you and your animals.

This Information Page is for anyone who might be in an abusive relationship and wants to create a safety plan, whether they are a partner in a romantic relationship or an elder. This Information Page is also for a person who might want to help someone else create a safety plan.

You are currently on the Law tab of this Information Page, which has general information about what safety planning is and why it’s important. For information on how to create a safety plan, such as what to include, and who can help you, click on the Process tab above. There is also important information in the Common Questions and Myths tabs above.

The first topic is What the words mean. Please read this section even if you think you already know what the words mean. In order to understand the resources on this page, you will need to understand the legal terms.

What the words mean

These words are not listed alphabetically—they are in the order that makes it easiest to understand the complete legal picture.

If you are looking for a specific term, you can use the Glossary, which is in alphabetical order.

family violence (also called “domestic violence” or "domestic abuse")

Abuse of power by one person (the “abuser”) toward one or more other people that the abuser has a relationship with. It is a pattern of behaviours within a relationship of intimacy, dependency, and/or trust.

It is most common to think of family abuse happening in romantic relationships (such as dating, living together, and marriage). However, abuse can also occur in other relationships, such as those between parents and children, adult children and their parents (seniors), siblings, extended families, or people and their pets.

abuser

A person who uses their power in a relationship to control and/or harm a person with whom he or she has a relationship. The abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, or financial. Abusers can be anyone, whether a friend, parent, romantic partner, adult child, or caregiver.

victim

The person who is controlled and/or hurt by someone else (the “abuser”). Victims can be anyone who is in a relationship with the abuser, such as a child, an elder, or a romantic partner. Victims may also be called “survivors.”

safety plan

A plan that helps you prepare and stay safe in family violence situations. A safety plan can be used in many different situations, whether you are a parent, child, partner, elder, or pet owner.

shelter

A safe place where victims of domestic violence can go to live on a temporary basis.

elder

An older person.

Be Aware

On this website, if elder is spelled with a capital “E” (“Elder”), it refers to an Aboriginal Elder. An Elder is a person chosen by the Aboriginal community, and who is recognized for his or her spiritual and cultural wisdom. Aboriginal communities usually ask for help and advice from Elders regarding various issues that arise. An Elder is not necessarily an older person.

The laws that may apply to you

As you work through and learn more about family violence, you may wish to read the laws (also called “statutes” or “acts”) that apply. See the following resource for an overview of family violence laws that may apply.

Web Family Violence Laws
Government of Canada
English

Web Les lois sur la violence familiale
Government of Canada
French
What is a safety plan?

Being in an abusive relationship is dangerous. Trying to leave an abusive relationship can be even more dangerous. The abuser may get angry if they find out the victim is trying to leave. Leaving an abusive relationship can also be very difficult if the abuser is the person who is in charge of the money in the house. It can be even more difficult if the victim has children and is not sure how to support the family after leaving.

If you are in an abusive relationship, making a safety plan is a good idea. It can help you to prepare yourself to leave, and to protect you from further danger. By having a safety plan, you will have what you need to stay as safe as possible. For example: emergency contacts, a list of safe places to go, and important paperwork and documents. You might not need to use your safety plan right away or even at all. But, it is a good idea to have one just in case. You can never be too safe.

If you try leave an abusive relationship without a safety plan, you might quickly realize that you are not sure what steps to take next. For example, you might not know:

  • who to talk to;
  • where you can go;
  • which shelters can take your children or pets;
  • which shelters accept elders; or
  • where you can get financial help.

For more general information about safety planning and what you can do, see the following resources.

PDF Planning for an Emergency
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Staying Safe: If You Are in a Violent Relationship
Government of Alberta
English

Web Domestic Violence: Developing a Safety Plan
Government of Alberta
English

Web The Perils of Trying to Leave
domesticshelters.org
English

Web Safety Planning Guidelines
Edmonton Police Service
English

Web Leaving Safely
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

PDF Safety plan
Leduc & District Victim Assistance Society
English


Web Creating a Safety Plan
Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children
English

PDF Creating a Safety Plan
Peel Committee Against Woman Abuse
Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog, Urdu, Vietnamese
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Safety Planning
Kanawayhitowin: Taking Care of Each Other's Spirit
English

Web Domestic Abuse: Increasing your safety
Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children
English
See “Making a safety plan.”

PDF Do You Need a Safety Plan?
Government of Nova Scotia
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Domestic Violence: Is There a Risk of Death?
Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children
English

Web How to plan for your safety
Government of Canada
English

Web Comment assurer votre sécurité
Government of Canada
French
What to include in a safety plan

Some of the essential things to include in your safety plan are:

  • a list of things you will take with you if you leave;
  • a list of safe places where you can go;
  • a list of safe places where you can go that also accept children and pets (if you have any);
  • a list of emergency numbers you can call; and
  • a list of people that you trust and that you can talk to.

For detailed information about what to include in a safety plan, and sample safety plans, see the Process tab of this Information Page.

Things you should take with you if you leave

It is important to be prepared and know what you will need to take with you if you leave. This is especially true if you have to leave in a hurry.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely that you will be able to take all of your possessions with you. Therefore, you should identify only important and essential documents and belongings that you will be able to carry around.

Some of the most important things you should take with you if you leave your abuser are listed below.

  • Personal identification such as birth certificates and passports for you and your children, and your driver’s licence.
  • Money such as cash or debit/credit cards. If you are using a debit or credit card, make sure it is an account that your abusive partner does not have access to. You don’t want them to be able to track where you go and what you buy.
  • Important documents such as your marriage certificate, divorce papers, immigration papers, and spousal or child support agreements. Also, any documents you would need to make spousal or child support applications (such as banking information and your tax forms for the past 3 years).
  • Medication (if you or your children need it).
  • Transportation needs such as access to the car, car keys, a bike, bus tickets, or bus pass.
  • Communication needs such as your cell phone or a phone card.
  • Toys to help calm your children.
  • Assistive devices such as your cane, hearing aids, contact lenses, glasses, dentures, or a walker.

If possible, it is a good idea to put all of these items and documents together in advance. This way they will all be ready to go if you have to leave in a hurry. You could leave a bag containing these important items with someone you trust nearby so that your abuser does not find it. It might also be a good idea to make photocopies of the documents and put them together so that they are ready to go. If you can’t put these items together ahead of time, make sure you know where you can find each item. Then you can quickly grab them in case of an emergency. Or, if necessary, you could tell someone else where they can find them for you.

Each person’s situation is unique. Therefore, what you need to take might be different from what someone else might take. For example, your situation will be different depending on whether you are married, have children or pets, are an immigrant, or have health concerns. Depending on your situation, you might need other documents or identification.

For a more detailed list of things you might want to take with you if you leave an abusive relationship, see the following resources.


Web Important Documents
Wheatland Crisis Society
English



Web Personalized Safety Plan
Domestic Violence Handbook
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more hereSee “Items to take, if possible.”

Web Money Fears Keep Women in Abusive Relationships. Here’s How to Change That.
Time Inc.
English
This resource is from a private source outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web When It's Time to Go: Part I
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web When It's Time to Go: Part II
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.
Safety planning if you have children

It is important to make sure that the children know and understand your safety plan as well. However, dealing with children can be tricky and complicated. For example, you won’t want them to accidentally tell the abusive parent about the safety planning. Some organizations suggest using neutral phrases. You could say, “we want to prepare for an emergency” rather than “we are preparing for what to do if Dad becomes violent.”

You might find it scary to think about talking to your children about safety planning. However, it is important that they know:

  • why you have a safety plan; and
  • what to do if they ever need to use it.

Different agencies and services can help you discuss safety planning with your children. To begin with, you can contact the Family Violence Info Line for more information about services and support. Their toll-free phone number is 310-1818, and they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 170 languages.

For more tips and advice on how to bring up safety planning and violence as safely as possible with your children, see the following resources.

Web Safety Planning With Children
National Domestic Violence Hotline
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Safety Planning for Battered Women: Considerations Regarding Children
Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Safety Planning with Children and Youth
Government of British Columbia
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Escaping With Older Kids
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Safety Planning With Your Kids
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Video Tu connais ce qu'est un plan de sécurité?
Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes
French
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.


Remember

You also know your children best. You know what they can and cannot handle or keep to themselves. Therefore, in addition to getting help from professionals, listen to your intuition. Follow your instincts about the safety plan and discussion based on your relationship with your children.

For a list of some common things people include when safety planning with children, see the Process tab of this Information Page.

For more information and places that might be able to help you make a safety plan, see the Family Violence: Resources to Help Information Page.

Safety planning for victims of elder abuse

Safety planning is also important for elders who are being abused. If you are worried that an elder is being abused, you may want to help them make a safety plan.

Many elders depend on other people, such as their family members or caretakers, to take care of them. Because of this, elders might not have the means or independence to leave an abusive situation.

A safety plan for elders will usually be different than one for younger adults or children. For example, elders are more likely to need to bring along medications, or assistive devices, such as hearing aids or walkers. Also, they may have different needs for transportation or a safe place to stay.

For more information about safety planning for elders, see the following resources.

Web Safety Plan
Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Network
English

PDF Safety plan
Leduc & District Victim Assistance Society
English

For a list of some common things people include when safety planning for elders, see the Process tab of this Information Page.

Safety planning if you have animals or pets

You may be worried that the abuser might hurt an animal or pet if you leave. You can include your animal or pet in your safety plan. There are different options depending on your situation and what you are comfortable with.

For example, you might:

  • bring the animal or pet with you;
  • take it to the home of a trusted friend or family member;
  • take it to a shelter intended for pets leaving abusive homes; or
  • include your animal or pet in your protective order.

For more information about safety planning with animals or pets, see the following resources.

Web Taking the Pets
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Women and Pets Escaping Violence
Canadian Federation of Humane Societies
English
See “Safety Planning for Pets.”
Web Pet Safekeeping
Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
English

Web 15 Ways to Plan for Pet Safety and Custody
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Get Out and keep them safe, too! : Including animals in protective orders
Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
English

Web Community Outreach
Central Alberta Humane Society
English
See “Emergency Boarding Program.”

Web Petsafe Keeping
Calgary Humane Society
English

Web Including pets in protective orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

PDF You Can Help Protect the Safety of People and Animals
Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Vous pouvez contribuer à la sécurité des personnes et des animaux
Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick
French
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web No Four-Legged Family Member Left Behind
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Why Pets Mean So Much: The Human-Animal Bond in the Context of Intimate Partner Violence
National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

For more information on including animals or pets in a protective order, see the Protective Orders Information Page.

For a list of some common things people include when safety planning for pets, see the Process tab of this Information Page.

Practicing your safety plan

It is important to practice your safety plan regularly to make sure that you understand how it works. If you have children, practicing can also be helpful for them to know what to do.

It is also a good idea to practice your safety plan in different ways, because you never know what might happen. Think of things that might go wrong. For example, maybe you won’t have access to the car when you need to leave. You can practice the safety plan using the bus instead. Or, maybe you will have left your cell phone somewhere, or the battery will have died. You could check where there is a payphone to call for help instead. It is important that you and your children know:

  • where bus stops and payphones are and how to use them;
  • how to get to your safe places; and
  • who you can trust, and how to call them.
Remember

Keep your safety plan current. Bus routes might change. People might change their phone numbers. Safe places might change their addresses. Therefore, it is important to review your safety plan on a regular basis.

People and places that can help you make a safety plan

If you need help creating a safety plan, you can contact the following support services.

Web Edmonton Police Service: Victim Services
Edmonton Police Service
English

Web Victim resources - Domestic violence
Calgary Police Service
English

Web Alberta Council of Women's Shelters: Contact Us
Alberta Council of Women's Shelters
English

Many other groups who work with victims of domestic violence can help with safety planning. For more information about organizations working in you area, see the Family Violence: Resources to Help Information Page.

Safe places to go

There are many different places and shelters where someone can go if they are being abused. This is true whether you are a woman, man, child, senior, parent, Aboriginal, LGBTQ, or have a pet. It is a good idea to get to know these different places in case you ever need to go. It can be helpful to know which ones are closest to you.

Sometimes, a shelter might be the safest place for you to go. For a list of things to think about when considering which shelter might be best for your situation, see the following resources.

Web Escape Plan: How to Find a Safe Place
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Important Questions to Ask a Shelter
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

You can contact the Family Violence Info Line for more information about services and support. Their toll-free phone number is 310-1818, and they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 170 languages.

Be Aware

Alberta’s Residential Tenancies Act has recently changed. Now victims of abuse to break their lease early, without a financial penalty. If you need to break your lease to leave your abusive situation, see the following resources for the steps you need to take.

PDF Renting and Domestic Violence: Ending Your Lease Early
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Safer Spaces certificate to end tenancy
Government of Alberta
English

For more information and options, see the Family Violence: Resources to Help Information Page.

Staying safe after you leave an abusive relationship

Even after you leave an abusive relationship, you will need to make sure you can stay safe. Depending on your situation, some steps you might want to take after you leave include:

  • changing your phone numbers;
  • changing your routine (such as your work schedule or the route you take to work);
  • changing your name;
  • getting a protective order; and
  • contacting the police.

For more information on staying safe after you leave an abusive relationship, see the following resources.




Web How can I keep my abusive partner away from me after I leave?
Community Legal Education Ontario
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Women's Rights for a Safer Tomorrow
Medicine Hat College Public Legal Education (via Leduc & District Victim Assistance Society)
English
Start on p. 15.

Web Domestic Violence: Is There a Risk of Death?
Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children
English

PDF How do I change my name? Information for victims of violence or abuse
Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime
English

Web Personalized Safety Plan
Domestic Violence Handbook
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Leaving Abuse: Tips for Your Safety
Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Violence et rupture : conseils pour votre sécurité
Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick
French
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Staying Strong After Leaving the Shelter
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web When It's Time to Go: Part II
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web On the Clock: How to Protect Yourself at Work
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Do You Know Where Your Money Is?
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

For more information about protective orders, see the Protective Orders Information Page.

Resources to help after you leave

There are resources to help you after you leave an abusive situation. These include housing options, financial help, and emotional help. See the Family Violence: Resources to Help Information Page for detailed information about where to go for assistance.

Process

Learn more about how to make a safety plan, including:

  • What to include in a general safety plan
  • Additional things to include in a safety plan if you have children, if you have pets, or you are an older adult
  • What a safety plan can look like (including sample safety plans)

Please read “Who is this Information Page for?” just below to make sure you are on the right page.

LegalAve provides general legal information, not legal advice. Learn more here.

Last Reviewed: May 2017
How to be safe on the internet

It is helpful to know how to look at things on the internet safely. You might not want someone else to see what you are looking at. Or you might want to learn how to delete your internet history, which shows which sites you have looked at. You might also not feel safe looking at family violence information, especially if you are in an abusive relationship and are afraid of your abuser.

For instructions on how to look at things on the internet safely and how to delete your browser history, see the Safe Browsing page.

For more information and tips about how to be safe on the internet, see the following resources.

Web Safe Browsing Tips: Computer, Phone and Tablet
domesticshelters.org
English

Web Protecting Your Email
domesticshelters.org
English

How to be safe on the phone

It is also helpful to know how to be safe when using the phone. Sometimes, when you make calls, the call history can be seen on your phone, or someone can hit “redial” to see who you last called. Or, you might just not want someone else to hear what you are talking about or asking for help about. This is especially true if you are in an abusive relationship. You may be afraid that the abuser will find out who you have been talking to. You might not feel safe calling for help—even in your own home.

For more information and tips about how to call for help safely, see the following resources.

Web How to Call for Help Safely
Alberta Council of Women's Shelters
English
 
Web How to Spy Spyware on Your Phone
domesticshelters.org
English

Web Apps Help Survivors' Messages Stay Secret
domesticshelters.org
English
Who is this Information Page for?

This Information Page is for anyone who wants to learn more about safety planning, either for themselves, their kids, or for someone they care about.

You are currently on the Process tab of this Information Page, which has information on how to create a safety plan and prepare to leave safely, such as tips on what to include, who can help you, and sample safety plans. For more general information on what a safety plan is and why they are important, click on the Law tab above. There is also important information in the Common Questions and Myths tabs above.

What to include in a safety plan

Some of the essential things to include in your safety plan are:

  • a list of things you will take with you if you leave;
  • a list of safe places where you can go;
  • a list of safe places where you can go that also accept children and pets (if you have any);
  • a list of emergency numbers you can call; and
  • a list of people that you trust and that you can talk to.

See the resources listed below for more information about safety planning, and a list of sample safety plans.

You can contact the Family Violence Info Line for information about services and support. Their toll-free phone number is 310-1818, and they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 170 languages.

Be Aware

Alberta’s Residential Tenancies Act has recently changed. Now victims of abuse are allowed to break their lease early, without a financial penalty. If you need to break your lease to leave your abusive situation, see the following resources for the steps you need to take.

PDF Renting and Domestic Violence: Ending Your Lease Early
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Safer Spaces certificate to end tenancy
Government of Alberta
English

More information about safety planning

For more information about what to include in a safety plan, see the following resources.

Web Create a Safety Plan
Government of Alberta
English

Web Domestic Violence: Developing a Safety Plan
Government of Alberta
English


Web Creating a Safety Plan
Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Escape and Safety Planning
Calgary Women's Emergency Shelter
English

PDF Staying Safe
Bow Valley Victim Services Association
English

Web Customizing Your Safety Plan
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Safety Planning Guidelines
Edmonton Police Service
English

Web Safety Planning
Kanawayhitowin: Taking Care of Each Other's Spirit
English

PDF Safety Planning
Legal Services Society
Chinese, English, Farsi, French, Punjabi, Spanish
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Understanding Financial Abuse & Safety Planning
Battered Women's Support Services
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Safety Planning
Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children
English

PDF Safety plan
Leduc & District Victim Assistance Society
English

PDF Do You Need a Safety Plan?
Government of Nova Scotia
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.


Web Safety Planning - For the Trans community
Springtide Resources
English

If you live in a rural area, the following resource has tips about other things to include in your safety plan. Be aware that this resource is American, so some of the information does not apply in Canada.

Web Safety in Rural Areas
National Network to End Domestic Violence
English

Web Seguridad en Areas Rurales
National Network to End Domestic Violence
Spanish

Sample safety plans

The following safety plans are considered “general” safety plans because they do not include specific safety planning information for children, elders, or pets. These safety plans can generally be used by someone in a romantic relationship.

Don’t feel like you have to follow these plans exactly. They are meant to guide you on things to consider. You will have to make them work for you.

PDF My Personal Safety Plan
Government of Alberta
English
See “My Personal Safety Plan.”

PDF You Are Not Alone: Safety Plan
Native Women's Association of Canada
English

PDF My Safety Plan
Community Legal Education Ontario
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Safety Plans for Victims of Domestic Violence
Victim Services Bruce Grey Perth
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here. See p. 5.

Web Get Help For Yourself: Safety Planning
loveisrespect
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Packing Your Bags: Contemplating leaving an abusive partner? Here is how to start preparing
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF A College Student's Guide to Safety Planning
loveisrespect
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF A Teen's Guide to Safety Planning
loveisrespect
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Domestic Violence Personalized Safety Plan
National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.
What to include in a safety plan with children

Some common things people include when safety planning with children include:

  • Teaching your child a “safe word” or “code word” to let them know when there is danger and what steps they should take to protect themselves.
  • Identifying safe hiding places in the house.
  • Identifying safe hiding places outside of the house (such as a friend’s house or a school).
  • Teaching your children to use different methods of transportation (bus, taxi, and bike). You will want to be sure they have fare money with them if they need to use the bus or take a taxi.
  • Teaching your children how to call for help (911 or a trusted adult). This may include helping them memorize the phone numbers of safe people they can call.
  • Talking to your children about alcohol and drugs, and the effect they can have on the abuser.
  • Reminding them that the abuse is never their fault.

See the resources listed below for more information about safety planning with children, and a list of sample safety plans you can use if you have children.

Remember

Dealing with children can be tricky and complicated. For example, you won’t want them to accidentally tell the abusive parent about the safety planning. Different agencies and services can help you bring up safety planning with your children. You also know your child best. You know what they can and cannot handle or keep to themselves. Therefore, in addition to getting help from professionals, listen to your intuition. Follow your instincts about the safety plan and discussion based on your relationship with your child.

You can contact the Family Violence Info Line for more information about services and support. Their toll-free phone number is 310-1818. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 170 languages.

More information

For more information on safety planning with children, see the following resources.

PDF Creating a Safety Plan
Peel Committee Against Woman Abuse
Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog, Urdu, Vietnamese
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Safety for my Children
The Healing Journey
English

PDF Someone is Hurting My Mom: My Safety Plan
The Healing Journey
English

Web Fleeing An Abuser With Your Children
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Safety Plans for Victims of Domestic Violence
Victim Services Bruce Grey Perth
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more hereStart on p. 26.

Web Safety Planning With Children
National Domestic Violence Hotline
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Tip Sheet: Family Safety Planning for Parents of Children with Disabilities
Stop It Now!
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.
  

French resources:

Web Sécurité pour mes enfants
The Healing Journey
French


PDF Creating a Safety Plan
Peel Committee Against Woman Abuse
Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog, Urdu, Vietnamese
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Sample safety plans for children

Don’t feel like you have to follow these plans exactly. They are meant to guide you on things to consider. You will have to make them work for you.

PDF Safety Planning with Children and Youth
Government of British Columbia
English
Start on p. 58.

PDF My Safety Plan
Community Legal Education Ontario
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Safety Plans for Victims of Domestic Violence
Victim Services Bruce Grey Perth
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here. See p. 28-29.

PDF A Teen's Guide to Safety Planning
loveisrespect
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.
What to include in a safety plan for elders

There are certain things that an elder may need to include in a safety plan that are different from other abusive situations.

Some common things to keep in mind when safety planning for elders include:

  • List of medication to take. Make sure you know which medications you need to take with you if you need to leave.
  • List of people you trust. Make sure you have a list of people you trust who can help you. This can be a friend, family member, caretaker, or doctor. You can share your safety plan with people you trust, or give them a copy.
  • List of assistive devices to take. Some elders might need a walker, cane, hearing aids, or glasses. It is important to make sure that you take any assistive devices that you might need with you. Or, make sure that you know where these items are in the house. Then a trusted person can get them for you easily if you cannot get them yourself.

For more information on safety planning with elders, and sample safety plans for elders, see the following resources.

Web Safety Plan
Alberta Elder Abuse Awareness Network
English

Web Safety Planning for Older Persons
Government of Ontario
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Elder Abuse Help Sheet: Plan for your safety
Queensland Elder Abuse Prevention Unit
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Elder Abuse Tip Sheet: Safety planning with older people
Queensland Elder Abuse Prevention Unit
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

PDF Safety plan
Leduc & District Victim Assistance Society
English

PDF Safety Plan for Older Adults
Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council
English
Note that this resource was created in 2007, so the phone numbers may no longer be current. Make sure you update the phone numbers if you plan to use this sample safety plan.

For more information about services and support, you can contact the Family Violence Info Line. Their toll-free phone number is 310-1818, and they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in more than 170 languages.

What to include in a safety plan with pets

Some common things people include when safety planning with pets include:

  • documents that show you own the pet;
  • medication and medical records;
  • food and bedding;
  • a plan for where to keep the pet if you have to go somewhere that does not allow pets.

See the resources listed below for more information about safety planning with pets.

Available shelters and pet boarding programs

Shelters for victims of abuse might not allow pets inside. You can research shelters ahead of time to see if any will allow you to bring an animal or pet.

You may not find a shelter for yourself that will also take your animal. In this case, you might have a trusted friend or family member who can take care of the animal for a while. However, try to make sure that this person is someone that the abuser does not know about. If the abuser knows where to find the animal, they might try to hurt it. Or, the abuser could try to use this knowledge to convince you to go back to the abusive relationship.

Some organizations provide pet boarding programs or emergency shelters for pets. Make a list ahead of time of different programs in your area.

For information on pet safekeeping programs in Alberta, see the following resources.

Web Pet Safekeeping
Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
English

Web Community Outreach
Central Alberta Humane Society
English
See “Emergency Boarding Program.”

Web Petsafe Keeping
Calgary Humane Society
English

More information and sample safety plans

For more information on safety planning with pets, see the following resources.

Web Taking the Pets
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English

Web Safety Planning for Pets of Domestic Violence Victims
Animal Welfare Institute
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Women and Pets Escaping Violence
Canadian Federation of Humane Societies
English
See “Safety Planning for Pets.”

PDF Safety Planning for Pets
National Link Coalition
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web 15 Ways to Plan for Pet Safety and Custody
domesticshelters.org
English
This resource is from outside Alberta. Learn more here.

Web Including pets in protective orders
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
English
Keeping your safety plan in a safe place

If an abuser finds your safety plan, they might become more angry or dangerous. So it is important to keep your safety plan where the abuser will not find it. For example, it could be hidden in a drawer that the abuser never uses, or carefully tucked into the pages of a book.

You may feel that there is no safe place inside your home to hide your safety plan. Maybe you could leave it with someone you trust, such as a family member, friend, or coworker. This person can keep it in a safe place for you. Whenever you need to review your safety plan, you will know where to go to look it over.

No matter where you keep your safety plan, you should be able to get to it easily. For example, if you hide it somewhere you never go, such as the attic, it might look suspicious if you go there. If you keep it with a friend, you might want to figure out how you can get it from them at any time.

Provincial Court

Queen's Bench

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