Staying Safe

If you're in an abusive relationship, you need to plan ahead for your safety. You also need to plan ahead for the safety of your children. View our Safety Planning Brochure.

  • Create a personalized Emergency Escape Plan that lays out exactly what you would do and where you'd go if the abuse got violent.
  • Create a similar plan for each of your children and review it with them one-on-one. Teach them how to use the telephone to call for help and what code word you would use to signal them to call. Make sure they know not to answer the door without you.
  • Create a list of telephone numbers you might need in an emergency (e.g., police and our telephone number, 905-684-8331). Always have your cell phone and charger, change for a pay phone and $10-$15 for taxi fare on hand.
  • Create a list of safe places you and your children could go in an emergency (e.g., the home of a family member or friend or our shelter).
  • Store clothing, money, important documents (or copies), house and car keys, toys for the children, etc. at the home of a family member or friend.
  • Keep all of your identification cards in your wallet or other safe place.
  • Open your own bank account at a bank different from the one the abuser uses. Arrange for calls and bank statements to go to a friend or family member, not to your home.
  • Save as much money as you can for emergency use – from your grocery budget if necessary.
  • Be aware of any weapons, including kitchen knives, in the home.
  • Ask trusted neighbours to call police if they hear fighting or screaming. If your partner no longer lives with you, ask them to call police if they see him in your neighbourhood or near your children.
  • Change the locks and install a peephole in the door as well as home security and outdoor lighting systems. Make sure smoke detectors are in place and working.
  • Have your telephone number unpublished and dial *67 before dialing out to block your number.
  • Consider getting a cell phone and have a cordless phone in the house.
  • If you have a restraining order, keep it near you at all times.
  • Make sure your school, police and daycare contacts have a copy of all court documents including restraining orders and custody/access orders. Tell your childcare providers who has permission to pick your children up.
  • Tell someone you trust at work about your situation and ask for all calls to be screened.
  • Stay away from places the abuser is likely to go (e.g., stores, banks, bars, etc.)
  • Consider creating a safety plan for your pets.


For instructions on how to create a personalized Safety Plan, including Emergency Escape Plan, Emotional Safety Plan and Child Safety Plan, click here to download a pdf booklet. This link also provides tips for what to do during a violent incident and how to increase the safety of your home, neighbourhood and workplace. To download this booklet in other languages, click here.

Remember, you can't do it all at once. One step at a time, one day at a time, you will become more and more safety conscious, more and more risk-aware. Also remember you are not alone. We are always just a telephone call away at 905-684-8331.

When sending sensitive emails or visiting websites such as this one, use a public computer if possible—for example, at a public library, school or internet café. Or, use a computer at the home of a trusted family member or friend.

If you are using your home computer and share it with other individuals or family members, you may want to remove any reference to your visit to this site. Most modern Internet browsers include a private browsing mode that will not save a history of your activities. The following instructions tell you how to do just that before you visit a site you wish to keep private.

Internet Explorer

  • From the safety menu select InPrivate Browsing
  • When you are done, simply close the InPrivate Browsing window
  • Make sure you see the following icon in the left of the address bar
    InPrivate Browsing icon

Mozilla Firefox

  • From the File menu select New Private Window
  • When you are done, simply close the Private browser window
  • Make sure you see the following icon in the top right of the browser window
    Private Window icon

Google Chrome

  • From the File menu select New Incognito Window
  • When you are done, simply close the Incognito browser window
  • Make sure you see the following icon in the top right of the browser window
    Incognito Window icon


  • On a Windows PC, from the File menu select Private Browsing
  • On a Mac, From the Safari menu select Private Browsing
  • When you are done, close the Private Browsing window.
  • To turn off Private Browsing mode, use the same method used to start it. WARNING: all pages still open in any Safari window when you turn off Private Browsing mode will appear in the browser history
  • Make sure you see the following icon in the right of the address bar
    Private Browsing icon


  • From the File menu select New Private Window
  • When you are done, simply close the Private browser window
  • Make sure you see the following icon to the left of the tab title
    Private Browsing icon

If you visit a website you wish to keep private without using the above methods, you can clear the broser history by following the instructions on this page.

REMEMBER - A partner can often tell when a woman makes up her mind to stop the abuse. Do not underestimate your partner – cover your internet tracks!

For more information on internet safety, including steps that may prevent someone from reading your emails or finding out which websites you've visited on your home computer, click here.


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