Like all forms of family abuse, the abuse of older adults is profoundly complex. For a variety of reasons, people will remain in abusive relationships or in an abusive situation. A safety plan can be a key element in keeping you – or someone you love – safe.
The plan may include a change to an element of their environment or the relationship which could result in the elimination of the role of the abuser or context of the abuse.
Here are some important guidelines to help you develop a safety plan for yourself or a loved one.
1. Keep important contact numbers in a trusted location for quick use.
2. Plan an escape route out of your home, including passage to a safe location such as a neighbour, friend, family member etc.
3. Ensure that some form of emergency transportation is available if you should need it.
4. Gather important papers such as birth certificates, social insurance numbers, citizenship and immigration papers, NWT Health Care cards, etc. Put these in a safe place, preferably not in your home, such as a safety deposit box or with a trusted friend.
5. Put together a suitcase of essential items such as clothing and medicines and store them in a safe place. Make plans for any pets that you have that you are unable to take and that you cannot leave behind.
6. Work out a code word that can be used on the phone with a person you trust. The code could mean to contact the police or to inform them that you are leaving.
7. Whenever calling a shelter or other resources, phone another number or press several numbers randomly immediately afterwards, so that your partner/caregiver cannot press the redial button and find out whom you were speaking with.
8. Whenever searching the internet for resources (including this website) remember to delete your website history so that your partner/caregiver can not view the safety plan, shelter numbers, etc.
Here’s how to do that:
- on the tool bar of your web browser, select “tools”
- on that menu, select “internet options”
- in the “history” box (3rd box down) select “clear history”
9. If you have a support person that your partner/caregiver is not aware of, keep that person’s name, address, and contact information confidential.
10. Keep a written journal of date, time and details of any abuse.