At JSS we’ve had many victims over the years coming to us for consultations on domestic violence/abuse* and dating violence. While some people may wonder simply escaping their abusive environment may solve everything, for a number of reasons (including the wish to rebuild family and relationships, financial circumstances, a sense of guilt or shame, embarrassment and even trauma), it is not that easy and simple. Furthermore, the abuser, who may not only be dangerous but also shrewd, could already be keeping watch over the victim, preventing them from taking measures of escaping or reaching out to support networks. So, even if the victim wishes to leave, it may not be possible.
(* Different types of violence/abuse include: physical, mental, sexual, verbal/emotional, economic, and cultural amongst others.)
Due to their close and intimate relationship with their abusers as or like a family, it isn’t just a case of a change of scene making the problem go away. Because there are also cases where the safety of close family members, relatives and even pets is threatened, it is vitally important when thinking of leaving to act with caution and care. In a situation where you feel there is a risk to yourself and children, of course the most important thing is to escape to a safe place, but in an emergency situation where time is limited and your emotional state is heightened, it’s possible that necessary contact details and documents will be left behind, leaving you unsure of where to go or who best to contact. Panic may set in.
Making sure to have a good method and route of escape, making sure to talk through your plans with your children and those you want to protect, entrusting essential and important documentation to a trust-worthy friend, and searching for a shelter are all things that can help. As much as possible it is important to prepare a safe, simple and quick means of escape. These preparations are called ‘Safety Planning’.
Here at the JSS, we have recently translated the CLEO’s (Community Legal Education Ontario) established Step to Justice Program from English to Japanese – 10-page documents.
(Original English article: here)
As explained on the CLEO’s website, Safety Planning comprises the following:
- an emergency escape plan
- a code word to use with your children so they know when to run to safety and call for help
- things to pack in an emergency bag if you need to leave home quickly
- a list of important documents to set aside or copy
- asking neighbours or friends to call the police if they hear fighting or loud noises, or if they see anything suspicious
- learning the telephone number of a local shelterFor those under the threat of violence, those who feel there is the possibility of violence in the future and even those who simply feel a little uneasy, please get in touch with JSS for a consultation. We can help not only with options for now and in the future, but also with the specifics of Safety Planning. Our counsellors are here to support them based on their individual conditions and wishes.Furthermore, for those intending to use this form, please be sure once you have printed it to store it somewhere safe (where it cannot be found by your abuser). When downloading the form on a computer which can also be accessed by others, please take care to remove cookies and the website history so there are no traces left behind.We’d like for everyone to understand the important part Safety Planning can play in enhancing a victim’s safety. At the same time, we are striving to deepen the awareness in the community of the complex and difficult issues of domestic violence/abuse and date violence, in order to create a society where it is easier for those suffering to call out for help.
*This is a translation of “Safety Planning Tool for Victims of Domestic / Date Violence ” produced in English by CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario). Japanese Social Services is wholly responsible for the accuracy of this translation, produced with permission of CLEO.