[Safety Underneath the Rainbow]

Safety Plans


A List of Our Safety Plans



Empowerent Plan

Homophobic bullying and harassment is a problem that must be addressed. Bullying is when someone uses hurtful words or actions in order to feel powerful over someone else and is repeated over time. Bullying is abuse.

Things you need to know:
  • If you are being bullied IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!
  • If you are being bullied, there are services you can use and people you can talk to.
  • You are not alone. To determine if a person is an ally, look for a "safe space" sign in their classroom or office. Look for GLBT magazines and rainbow stickers displayed. During conversation mention gay-friendly shows like Will & Grace or Queer Eye For the Straight Guy. Observe their reaction if/when they are directly confronted with an issue of minority rights. If you cannot find someone safe to come out to in your school, look at the Youthsafe.net website to find a counselor or service provider that is LGBT friendly.
  • Informing someone of the bullying can help make the bullying STOP. It will also make the PERSON DOING THE BULLYING responsible for their actions.
  • Informing someone safe and talking about your experience can help you to feel better. Remember letting people know about the bullying keeps other people safe too.
  • Inform someone safe: WHAT happened, WHO bullied you or someone you know, WHO saw it happen, WHERE it happened, and WHEN and for HOW LONG it occurred. Also mention who tried to help, and who you told already.
  • If you feel unable to tell or want to wait and see if it stops, write down this information each time that it happens so that you have documentation if you ever do want to report the bullying.
  • It can help to...talk or write about your feelings, write down what you would like to say to the person doing the bullying, and remember that you are a wonderful human being with many positive qualities.

What can you do?

If you feel safe, you may want to begin by informing the bully that their actions are unwanted. However, this should only be done if you feel that you are able to handle the bully's reaction, whatever that may be. You can assert yourself, use humour to diffuse the situation, and use positive self-talk.

REMEMBER:
  • You have a right to be safe!
  • You have a right to be heard and understood!
  • You have a right to be proud of who you are!

Everyone has a responsibility to STOP BULLYING and HARASSMENT. If someone tells a homophobic joke or uses unfriendly language, anyone who is around can take a stand. You can make a difference by letting people know when their language is offensive and that their jokes are discriminatory.


Safety Plan

This information was obtained from the Calgary Domestic Violence Collective (www.endviolence.ca)

Domestic Violence is ABUSE. Abuse hurts. It can include hitting, name calling, controlling a person's money or actions, threats, or forced or unwanted sex. In Alberta, there are many services that can help you if you are experiencing same-sex domestic violence.

Recognize that you are not responsible for the abuse. There is nothing that you can do to stop the abuse. It is the abuser's responsibility to decide to make a change. It is your responsibility to keep yourself and your children safe.

Recognize that violence/abuse is not likely to stop on its own - episodes of violence usually become more frequent and more severe.

It is important to break the silence. Try to tell someone who will believe you.

Seek professional help from a qualified counselor who is knowledgeable about partner abuse and is lesbian/gay positive. A lesbian or gay male counselor with the above qualities may help you address the pertinent issues of abuse with more comfort and focus. Couples counseling is not an option for ending domestic violence.

Safety plans must be developed to take into account the specific circumstances and abilities of each individual. All or some of the information may be helpful in planning for your safety. For a personalized safety plan, please contact an emergency shelter for assistance.

The abused may wonder whether to tell their partner/caregiver they are leaving. In cases where there has been physical abuse or extremely controlling behaviour, telling the abuser can seriously endanger the abused. Abusers can become increasingly violent when they fear their partner is leaving or they are losing control.

A Standard Safety Plan for Leaving an Abusive Relationship or Situation
  1. If possible, pre program emergency shelter numbers into your phone (i.e. 911)
  2. Keep a phone in your room you can lock from the inside.
  3. Plan an escape route out of your home. Teach and practice it with your children.
  4. Try to put away a little money at every opportunity, even enough for a phone call.
  5. If possible, try to keep an extra key to a vehicle hidden.
  6. Gather important papers (both you own and your children's), such as birth certificates, social insurance numbers, citizenship and immigration papers, Alberta Health Care cards, immunization records, etc. Put these in a safe place, preferably outside your home, such as a safety deposit box or with a trusted friend.
  7. 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. If you have no place to leave your pets and this will prevent you from leaving, mention this to the shelter when you call.
  8. Have a list of shelters and phone/TTY numbers accessible but hidden. If you are ready to leave, keep checking to see if there is space for you and your children. If possible, check to see if the shelters are barrier free for your needs.
  9. Ensure that some form of emergency transportation is available upon request. This may be through a trusted friend or community supports.
  10. Work out a code word that can be used on the phone with a person that is trusted. The code could mean to contact the police or to inform them that you are leaving. It may also be important to develop signals or codes for neighbours to call the police, such as banging on the floor or wall in case of emergency.
  11. Look at options for safe places (i.e. a friend, a neighbour, a relative, motel, or emergency shelter). If you can do so safely, contact the people in advance.
  12. 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.
  13. Whenever searching the internet for resources (including this web site) remember to delete your web site history so that your partner/caregiver can not view the safety plan, shelter numbers, etc. Information on deleting your browser's history can be found here.
  14. If you have a support person that your partner/caregiver is not aware of, keep that person's name and address confidential.
If you have left the abusive situation or relationship, you need to:
  1. Call the police immediately if the abusive person tries to contact you.
  2. Develop an escape plan and practice with your children.
  3. Change your locks, add dead bolts, if possible install motion sensor lights in the yard or install a security system. Ensure all entrances are well lit and keep doors and windows securely locked. Ask for your landlord's assistance if possible.
  4. Keep a telephone in a room that locks from the inside. If possible, purchase a cellular phone and keep it nearby (i.e. purse, pocket, etc.) or in an accessible hiding place.
  5. Obtain a private or unlisted telephone number. If possible, pre-program emergency numbers (i.e. 911) into the telephone's directory.
  6. Consider renting a post office box for mail. Your address may be listed on legal orders and police reports and can be accessed by the abusive person.
  7. Develop signals or codes for neighbours and friends to call the police, such as banging on the floor or wall in the case of an emergency.
  8. Have a safety plan for the children. Teach your children not to let the abusive person in the home. Prepare the children to respond to the abusive person who comes to their school or day-care centre. If a protection order includes provisions about the children, give a copy to the children's school or childcare facility.
  9. If it is not a safe where you live, choose a safe place to go (i.e. trusted friend or relative, motel, emergency shelter, etc.) Check to see which shelters are barrier free for you and if they have accessible support that you require. Do not go to a friends or relativ's house if the abusive person is likely to find you there. This can be dangerous for both you and those trying to assist you.
  10. Keep a copy of all protection orders and custody orders with you at all times.
  11. Change any appointments the abusive person was aware of (i.e. medial or dental appointments).
  12. Shop at different stores and frequent different social spots so that the abusive person will be less to find you.
  13. Call the telephone company and ask about "e;Caller ID"e;, so that you can identify the telephone number of anyone attempting to call you. Ask that your phone number be blocked, so that if you make the phone call, no one will be able to get your new, unlisted phone number. In some areas, you can press *67 before dialing, which will block your phone number from appearing on the phone you are calling.
  14. Review your safety plan monthly.
A Standard Safety Plan When Choosing to Stay in an Abusive Relationship or Situation

If you choose to stay, there are some steps that can be taken to increase your safety if an abusive incident occurs. Even if all these precautions are followed, your safety cannot be guaranteed. Remember you do not deserve to be hurt or threatened.
  1. If an abusive situation seems likely, try to avoid rooms with access to potential weapons (i.e. knives, heavy objects), and with only one exit. Avoid the kitchen and bathroom areas.
  2. Do not run to where your children are as they may be hurt as well.
  3. If possible, pre-program emergency numbers into your phone (i.e. 911). Keep a phone in a room you can lock from the inside.
  4. Talk to your neighbour or friend that you can trust and arrange a signal or code for when you need them to get help.
  5. Teach your children not to intervene in the violence. Instead, teach them a code for when you need them to get help.
  6. Have an emergency bag packed and hidden in an accessible location. Include numbers of emergency shelters and police, identification, a few items of clothing, and money for phone calls and/or transportation. Have an extra set of car keys or enough money for a taxi or bus. Keep your important papers for you and your children including, Alberta Health Care cards,. Birth certificates, custody agreements, social insurance numbers, and citizenship and immigration papers.
  7. Ensure that some form of emergency transportation is available upon request. This may be through a trusted friend or through community supports.
  8. Have an escape route out of your home. Teach it to and practice it with your children.
  9. Work out a code word that can be used on the phone with a person that is trusted. The code could mean to contact the police or to inform them that your are leaving. It may also be important to develop signals or codes for neighbours to call the police such as banging in the floor or wall in case of an emergency.
  10. Look at options for safe places (i.e. a friend, a neighbour, a relative, motel, or emergency shelter). If you can do so safely, contact the people in advance to let them know you are coming. This allows them to watch for you and call for help if needed. Do not go to a friend or relative's house if your partner/caregiver is likely to try to find you there. This can be dangerous for both you and those trying to assist you.
  11. A life-call system can be part of your personalized safety plan. The shelters have more information on this system.
  12. 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.
  13. Whenever searching the internet for resources (including this web site) remember to delete your web site history so that your partner/caregiver can not view the safety plan, shelter numbers, etc. Information on deleting your browser's history can be found here.
  14. Children should be told that violence is not right, even if the abusive person is someone they love. Tell your children that targets of violence are not at fault. Neither you nor they caused the violence. The most important thing is for you and your children to be protected.
  15. Review your safety plan monthly.




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