Select Page

precautions after leaving an abusive relationship

Precautions after leaving an abusive relationship

When you go out, you can do all or any of the following:

  • Let someone know your whereabouts and when you’ll be back.
  • Change the times that you normally go to the bank, gym, stores, etc.
  • Use different entrances and exists.
  • Go to different places than the ones you normally go to.
  • Avoid secluded areas.
  • Carry a personal alarm.
  • Carry a cell phone.
  • Know where the nearest police station, fire station and hospitals are.
  • Keep a copy of your protection with you.

The following are suggestions NOT recommendations on how to navigate such situations.


If you take public transportation, you can do all or any of the following:

  • Sit near the bus driver on the bus.
  • Change the bus stops you get on and off at.
  • Travel with a friend.

If you are at work, you can do all or any of the following:

You can inform your supervisor and/or co-workers of your situation and:

  • Ask to have your work hours changed or rotated.
  • Ask to call 911 if they see the abuser with you.
  • Show them a picture of your (ex) partner and provide a description of their car.
  • Ask that they refrain from giving anyone personal information about you.
  • Ask to have your calls screened at work.
  • Ask to block unwanted emails.
  • Ask for a transfer to a different position or location.

If you have your own residence, you can do all or any of the following:


  • Change the locks on the doors, windows, garage and mailbox.
  • Install a peephole in the door.
  • Install an alarm system, smoke and/or motion detector.
  • Keep doors and windows locked at all times.
  • Replace wooden doors with steel/metal doors.


  • You can remove name from apartment building directory or mailbox.
  • Check the floor carefully when getting on and/or off the elevator.

Home and Apartment

  • Do not allow children to answer the door alone.
  • Rearrange furniture and hide kitchen utensils and knives in case partner comes back.

If you have a car, you can do all or any of the following:

  • Change the place where you park.
  • Change the routes that you take.
  • Carpool with someone.
  • Trade-in your car for a different make and model.
  • Trade cars with a friend.
  • Ask someone to walk you to your car.
  • Scan the parking lot.
  • Always look around your car and in the back seat before getting in.
  • Keep your doors locked at all times when you are in or out of your car.
  • Have your car keys ready in your hand when you approach your car.

If you are being followed, you can do all or any of the following:

  • Go to a crowded area (ex. restaurant).
  • Make a scene in order to get attention (ex. Scream FIRE or HELP).
  • Sound your car horn loudly or flash your headlight.
  • Make plans about what to do if the abuser confronts you.

If your (Ex) partner is arrested, you can do all or any of the following:

  • Find out if he/she/they will be held in custody or released and provide input into release conditions to the investigating officer.
  • Ask for a copy of the conditions of his/her release.

If (ex) partner contacts you, you can do all or any of the following:

  • Record all phone calls/messages.
  • Save all emails/text messages and Facebook/social media contacts.
  • Document all in-person contacts made by the abusive partner.
  • Call police if partner violates the protection order or is threatening you in any way.
  • If you agree to see your partner, you will meet in a public place and make sure someone knows where you are and when to expect you to return.

If you have children, you can do all or any of the following:

  • Talk to a lawyer about getting supervised access or having access denied if your (ex) partner has legal custody of your children.
  • Arrange for transportation for your children during visitations to minimize contact with (ex) partner.
  • Provide your child’s school and/or day care with a copy of all court orders (ex. protection orders, custody and access orders), a picture of the abusive partner, and which people have permission to pick up your children.
  • Ask a trusted individual (ex. Neighbour) to look after your children in an emergency.

Other precaution, you can do all or any of the following:

  • Change your number, have a pre-recorded anonymous message that does not mention your number.
  • Have your telephone number unpublished, block your number when calling out by dialing *67 before the number, or dial *69 to trace the last call you received.
  • Consider getting a dog that barks when someone approaches your house or get a “Beware of Dog” sign.
  • Change passwords on electronic devices (e.g. computer) and create a new email addresses for yourself and family members.

The following information is adapted from the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre Peer Support Handbook and the Peel Committee Against Woman Abuse Creating A Safety Plan Booklet