If you believe you—and your children—are in danger, there are programs in place to help you find comfort and a safe place for you and your family. Whether you’re experiencing physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological abuse, the Saint John Police Force, (SJPF) along with its community partners, are here to help you. The SJPF Victim Services Unit is committed to treating all people with dignity, compassion, and respect. Our unit is staffed by a civilian coordinator and several trained volunteers whose goal is to provide support and confidentiality to you and your family.
Think about your safety
Many victims stay in an abusive relationship out of fear, financial security, lack of choice, the abuser threatening suicide, or even a hope for change. Many victims may feel ashamed of their situation. The abuse is not your fault and you are not alone. Acting abusively is a choice your partner makes and they need to take the responsibility to change that behaviour and get professional help.
Think about your children's safety
Although adults may think “the kids don’t know,” research shows children see or hear many domestic violence assaults. And a child who witnesses spousal violence is experiencing a form of child abuse, given that some research suggests that witnessing family violence is as harmful as experiencing it directly. Children who witness 10 or more incidents of parental domestic violence before the age of 16 are at least twice as likely to attempt suicide.
Have an exit plan if possible
If you have have time to plan your exit please consider these things:
- Documentation—can you hide or store documents such as health cards, pension, bank details, marriage/birth certificate, passports, and driver’s licence?
- If there is an intervention order or other legal papers, keep them with you.
- If possible, save money for transport or other costs.
- Clothing—keep a set for you and children in a bag in case there is a need to leave quickly.
- If there are children, include some children's toys in the emergency packed bag.
- Have any spare medication easily available.
- Carry a list of telephone numbers to call in an emergency (police, crisis hotline, friends/family, shelter).
- Keep a spare set of house/car keys in a safe place.
- Think about at least four places that you can go if you leave your home.
- Keep a mobile phone for emergency use.
- Talk to the children about the situation. They will probably be aware of what is going on. If appropriate, discuss the escape plan. If possible, take children/dependents with you as it can be difficult to gain access to them otherwise at a later date.
- If possible, to ensure your safety, leave when the abuser is not around.
- Your life and your safety are most important. Bringing your children with you is important. Everything else is secondary.
- Support may be accessed from the police or other agency to return home to get other belongings later.
If you wish to speak with someone, feel free to call Victim Services at (506) 648-3269 or Domestic Violence Outreach at (506) 632-5616.
If you are in immediate danger, always call 9-1-1.
You can reach out to any of our Community Partners and start the conversation to ensuring your safety and a better life.