What Can I do?
Are You Safe Right Now? read our Signs of Abuse
If you are in Immediate Danger call 911
If you question your safety, or your children’s safety, you must act right away.
If its not safe to call right now, try when your abuser leaves the room, then call 911. Tell them you are afraid you are going to be hurt and you can’t talk. If you are using your cell phone you will need to give 911 your address. Leave the phone off the hook out of sight. Remember your safety plan, move to an area you can not be trapped in, close to an exit.
If you do not feel you want to call the police you can call the VictimLINK line (1-800-563-0808) which provides
information and referrals to all victims, as well as immediate crisis response to victims of violence.
Call our Confidential Line 604-872-7774 to receive support, talk over safety planning, go through your choices that can help with your safety and ask any questions you may have
If you are able to leave to a safe location –
Use a friend or family members phone that your abuser cannot trace calls from
Use a computer at the public library or at a trusted friend/family members home to research for help
If you are not in immediate danger but you are planning to leave, here are some important safety and wellness issues for you to consider. Many women arrive at our home with their children and the clothes on their backs. But if you can, any safety planning you can do will help you. And take a moment to learn how to cover your tracks.
Are you being abused and planning to leave?
- Do not tell your partner that you’re thinking of leaving.
- When you do leave, take your children with you.
- Plan your emergency exits.
- Save as much cash as you can.
- Keep emergency phone numbers with you at all times.
- Set aside money for a taxi or public transit.
- Take valuable documents: passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, immigration papers, health cards, SIN cards, and bank cards.
- Take all prescription medications for you and your kids.
- If possible, bring documents that prove you have been living at the same address as your partner.
- Open a bank account in your name or in the name of a person you trust. Make sure bank statements are not mailed to your home.
- Hide extra clothing, house keys, car keys, money etc. at a trusted friend’s house.’
- Have an emergency suitcase packed, if possible or stored at a friends place.
- Include some special toys and comforts for your children.
- When you’ve made your decision to leave seriously consider stopping all communication with your abuser. Find out what carrier your cell service is using and go to their closest retail store. Then create a new account with them and get a new SIM card with a new phone number beforehand. This will assure the SIM card works flawlessly as some phones are locked to their carrier. On the way to safety, power down your phone so you can not be located. Take the old SIM card out and put the new SIM card in your phone. This will give the new phone number that you just signed up for and also cut off all communication with your abuser (since your phone number will now be different). Make sure you tell your trusted family and friends the new phone number beforehand so they know when you’re calling. This is for your safety and the safety of those you are going to join with.
Signs of Abuse
If you are a victim of abuse, or think you may be, you can contact us right now.
Violence in a relationship can happen over time or in an instant. Does your relationship have any of these signs of abuse?
- Physical abuse, including slapping, hitting, punching, pushing, shoving, choking
- Striking with any kind of weapon/objects
- Physically harming children
- Sexual assault/rape
- Threatening children
- Disregard for welfare of children
- Physically harming family pets
- Degradation and humiliation
- Isolation and confinement
- Emotional, psychological and verbal abuse
- Threatening language
- Escalating arguments
- Withdrawal of emotional or financial support
- Attempts to control or cut off friendships or family ties
- Increased hostility toward other friends or family
If you see any of these signs of abuse in your relationship, get help immediately. You can also learn more by reading what can I do?
Be Smart – Cover Your Tracks
At the top of every page on this website, you will see our Exit Website Button. Click that any time to immediately hide this page if your abuser comes into the room.
An abuser can often tell when their victim has made up their mind to stop the abuse. Do not underestimate them. Learn to cover your tracks.
Your computer and telephone consistently keep records. Get familiar with what information is being saved. Here are some general guidelines. For some this information can be complex and overwhelming. If you are not sure you can be safe, do not use a computer or telephone that your partner has access to. You can use computers at a public library or a friends or family phone to reach out for help.
Every website browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Edge) by default keeps a record of websites you have visited. Find instructions on how to delete cookies, temporary internet files, and web history. You can use the Help or Settings function of your browser to find out how to clear them. Make sure you remove traces of things you have searched for, so delete any previous searches such as “signs of abuse” “am I being abused” or “how to erase websites I have visited”. Be careful not to wipe all traces of your web history as this could cause suspicion that you are hiding something.
As it may be too late to change relationship norms regarding password secrecy the following advice can apply to new relationships in the future and is a good rule of thumb to go by regarding passwords in the digital age.
- Never tell your partner your password and never ask them for theirs. Tell them you don’t want their password as it makes never telling yours a more viable option. If they ask why, say that you read it on a website and it’s a good security practice and they should do it as well.
- Don’t use the same password for every site. Use different passwords. If it’s hard for you to remember your passwords, keep them in a place you only have access to, or use a password manager.
- When logging into websites that require a password, always click on never remember this password. Depending on the browser, instructions can be found on how to clear all of the passwords that the browser has saved. This can be an inconvenience, however, if you feel you are under watch, it is a great preventative measure and will keep your communications secure.
If you use an email program such as Microsoft Outlook it will save a copy of any sent or received messages inside of it. Make sure to completely remove any emails that your partner might find, or do not use a computer or email box that your partner has access to. If you are worried, don’t use the app Outlook on the shared computer (or any other email apps) and opt for web based log in email instead (Gmail, Yahoo, Shaw, etc.). Web based email will always ask for a password on log in so it will ensure that your abuser won’t have access. Make sure you always log out as some browsers have default settings that allow passwords to be saved and will log into web based email automatically for convenience. A good practice is to always click on never remember this password on sign in and make sure no one else knows your passwords but you.
CELL PHONE AND TELEPHONE RISK:
When you contact us, or any organization assisting women in danger, be careful not to use a telephone that keeps a record of the number you called. If using a phone that an abuser could have access to, hit redial and then “clear” or “erase” to remove that number from your called list. If the phone only stores the last number you called, call a friend after you call for help. If you call long distance, phone numbers will appear on your bill. If you and your partner share a computer with an Internet-based phone system, like Skype, do not use this system to call for help as they will be likely able to notice. Personal cell phones can also keep records, so make sure you have a strong password and delete the phone call history on it as well. If a cell password is not an option for you, make sure that you consistently delete your search and call history and turn off location services on iPhone or Android once you have left to go to a safe place in case they have installed a location based app on your phone.
If you are not sure of your telephone system, or what it might be able to tell your abuser, use a friend’s phone, a public phone, a work phone, or a phone that has nothing to do with your abuser.
If you share a credit card with your partner or his credit card pays for your compass card your public transit can be tracked by the abuser.
If you are in danger, call 911.
Violence: The Truth
Violence against women happens in all cultures and religions, all ethnic and racial communities, at every age, and every income group.
At least one woman is killed by her partner every 6 days in Canada.
A report by UNICEF found that each year in Canada, an estimated 362,000 children witness or experience family violence.
A survey by the Canadian Women’s Foundation says that 67% of Canadians know at least one woman who has been physically or sexually assaulted.
On one day in Canada, more than 3,700 women and 2,500 children slept in an emergency shelter like Kate Booth House to escape domestic violence.
The most cited study from Statistics Canada says that 51% of Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.
According to the Department of Justice it costs $7.4 billion to deal with the aftermath of spousal violence in Canada.
Abuse is still kept behind closed doors in our country. Only 22% of victims of spousal violence report their abuse to the police in Canada and less than 10% of women report sexual assault.
Find out more about violence against women and children:
Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile (Statistics Canada)
National Clearinghouse on Domestic Violence
Behind Closed Doors: The Impact of Domestic Abuse on Children (UNICEF)
Little Eyes, Little Ears: How Violence Against a Mother Shapes Children as they Grow (Public Health Agency of Canada)