Violence and abuse can happen to any woman regardless of age,sexual or gender identity, race, religion, culture, ability or economic status.
Help is closer than you think.
ARE YOU IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP?
Often the most obvious form of abuse is physical, it's also usually the easiest to identify. But the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse can also be severely damaging. Emotionally abusive relationships are as destructive as being physically abused because they can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. Your first step to breaking free is recognizing and acknowledging the reality of your situation and then finding the help you need.
To determine whether your relationship is abusive, answer the questions below. The more "yes" answers, the more likely it is that you're in an abusive relationship. (HelpGuide.org)
Ontario Assaulted Women's Helpline 24 hour: 1-866-863.-511 TTY 1-866-863-7868
Distress Centre Durham 905-430-2522 1-800-452-0688
Durham Rape Crisis Centre 905-668-9200
Durham Sexual Assault Care Centre 905-576-8711 ext. 3286
Telecare Distress Centre of Lindsay 705-878-4411
Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868
Sexual Assault & Child Abuse Unit 905-579-1520 ext. 5318
Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Care Centre 705-576-8711 ext. 3286
Lakeridge Health Oshawa 905-576-8711
Lakeridge Health Bowmanville 905-623-3331
Rouge Valley Ajax & Pickering 905-683-2320 ext. 3523 905-999-0205
Telehealth Ontario 1-866-797-000
Durham Mental Health Services/Mobile Services 905-666-0483 1-800-742-1890
SHELTERS FOR WOMEN & CHILDREN
Bethesda House Bowmanville 905-623-6045
The Denise House Oshawa 1-800-263-3725 905-728-7311
Herizon House Ajax/Pickering 1-866-437-4066 905-426-1064
Muslim Welfare Centre Whitby 1-866-666-1115 905-665-0424
Y's Wish / YWCA Oshawa 905-576-6356 905-576-6743
SERVICES DURING BUSINESS HOURS:
Durham Children's Aid Society 905-433-1551 1-800-461-8140
Pinewood Centre for Addictions 1-888-881-8878
Destiny Manor Addiction & Treatment Services 905-668-1858 1-800-825-6325
Catholic Family Services 905-725-3513 1-877-282-8932
Women's Multicultural Resource & Counselling Ctr. 905-427-7849 1-877-454-4035
Family Services Durham 1-866-840-6697
Victim Witness Assistance Program 905-743-2790
Victim Services Durham 905-579-1520 ext. 3400 1-888-579-1520
Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health 905-430-4055 1-800-263-2679
Domestic Abuse and Addiction Resource Guide www.drugrehab.com/guides/domestic-abuse/
Safety plans are intended to optimize victim/survivor safety at every stage. Safety plans:
- Detail plans in case of dangerous situations or changes in the relationship, such as breaking up
- Identify safe friends and safe places
- Identify the essential items to take should one need or decide to leave home
- Include information about local domestic violence resources and legal rights
- Build on what a survivor is already doing to survive
Survivors are the experts in their own situation and some of the information or suggested steps provided here may not be relevant to an individual survivor. The sample safety plans should be adapted as needed. In addition, it may be helpful to start this process with an advocate.
Safety plans should start from the assumption that an abuser is dangerous and try to help the victim/survivor identify the circumstances under which the abuser typically becomes violent and how the abuser may react to help seeking strategies. (adapted from The Center for Abuse Relationship Awareness)
Personal Safety Plan
If you had the perpetrator evicted or are living alone, you may want to:
- Change locks on doors and windows.
- Install a security system — window bars, locks, better lighting, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
- Teach the children to call the police or family and friends if they are taken.
- Talk to schools and childcare providers about who has permission to pick up the children.
- Find a lawyer knowledgeable about family violence to explore custody, visitation and divorce provisions that protect you and your children.
- Obtain a restraining order.
If you are leaving the abuser, consider the following:
- How and when can you most safely leave? Where will you go?
- Are you comfortable calling the police if you need them?
- Who can you trust to tell that you are leaving?
- How will you travel safely to and from work or school or to pick up children?
- What community and legal resources will help you feel safer? Write down their addresses and phone numbers, and keep them handy.
- Do you know the number of the local shelter?
- What custody and visitation provisions will keep you and your children safe?
- Is a restraining order a viable option?
- Open a savings account in your own name. Give the bank a safe address, like a post office box or your work address.
- Leave money, an extra set of keys, and copies of your important papers with someone you trust. You may need to leave home fast, and you’ll need these things later.
If you are staying with the abuser, think about:
- What works best to keep you safe in an emergency.
- Who you can call in a crisis.
- If you would call the police if the violence starts again. Can you work out a signal with the children or the neighbors to call the police when you need help?
- If you need to flee temporarily, where would you go? Think though several places where you can go in a crisis. Write down the addresses and phone numbers, and keep them with you.
- If you need to flee your home, know the escape routes in advance.
- Have the following available in case you have to flee:
- Important papers such as birth certificates, social security cards, marriage and driver’s licenses, car title, lease or mortgage papers, passports, insurance information, school and health records, welfare and immigration documents, and divorce or other court documents
- Credit cards, bank account number, and ATM cards
- Some money
- An extra set of keys
- Medications and prescriptions
- Phone numbers and addresses for family, friends, doctors, lawyers, and community agencies
- Clothing and comfort items for you and the children
If you are in danger, please try to use a safer computer that someone abusive does not have direct or remote (hacking) access to.
Nothing changes faster than technology - it’s hard to keep up with all that’s available to help you or what can hurt you.
Technology can be a powerful tool to help you when leaving an abusive or violent situation. The internet can help you find programs, services and support that will help you create a plan for you and your children. Unfortunately it can also be used to continue the abuse.
- Did you know that you can monitor someone’s computer use without the user knowing?
- Did you know that a “history” cannot be completely erased from a computer?
- Did you know that cell phone use can be monitored?
- Did you know that a global positioning system (GPS) can be placed on your car, in your purse or in your cell phone?
- Did you know the some court systems are placing court records online and that they may contain personal information?
- Did you know that e-mail is like a postcard and can be intercepted?
- Did you know that you can find safe computers at your local library?
- If you think your activities are being monitored, they probably are. Abusive people are often controlling and want to know your every move. You don’t need to be a computer programmer or have special skills to monitor someone’s computer and Internet activities – anyone can do it and there are many ways to monitor with programs like Spyware, keystroke loggers and hacking tools.
- It is not possible to delete or clear all the “footprints" of your computer or online activities. If you are being monitored, it may be dangerous to change your computer behaviors such as suddenly deleting your entire Internet history if that is not your regular habit.
- If you think you may be monitored on your home computer, be careful how you use your computer since an abuser might become suspicious. You may want to keep using the monitored computer for innocuous activities, like looking up the weather. Use a safer computer to research an escape plan, look for new jobs or apartments, bus tickets, or ask for help.
- Email and Instant/Text Messaging (IM) are not safe or confidential ways to talk to someone about the danger or abuse in your life. If possible, please call a hotline instead. If you use email or IM, please use a safer computer and an account your abuser does not know about.
- Computers can store a lot of private information about what you look at via the Internet, the emails and instant messages you send, internet-based phone and IP-TTY calls you make, web-based purchases and banking, and many other activities.
- It might be safer to use a computer in a public library, at a trusted friend’s house, or an Internet Café.
(Technology Safety Planning for Survivors) – English and French versions
- At work you may choose to:
- Save any threatening emails or voicemail messages. You can use these to take legal action in the future, if you choose to. If you already have a restraining order, the messages can serve as evidence in court that the order was violated.
- Park close to the entrance of your building, and talk with security, the police, or a manager if you fear an assault at work.
- Have your calls screened, transfer harassing calls to security, or remove your name and number from automated phone directories.
- Relocate your workspace to a more secure area.
- Obtain a restraining order and make sure that it is current and on hand at all times. Include the workplace on the order. A copy should be provided to the police, the employee’s supervisor, Human Resources, the reception area, the Legal department, and Security.
- Provide a picture of the perpetrator to reception areas and/or Security.
- Identify an emergency contact person should the employer be unable to contact you.
- Ask Security to escort you to and from your car or public transportation.
- Look into alternate hours or work locations.
- Review the safety of your childcare arrangements, whether it is on-site childcare at the company or off-site elsewhere. If you have a restraining order, it can usually be extended to the childcare center.
- Workplace Safety information adapted from The Centre for Abuse Relationship Awareness