Three provincial organizations have coordinated on the development of an educational guide for the victims of intimate partner and family violence. The Getting Out Guide is based on the experiences of people who have left violent and abusive relationships and are now living violence-free lives, and the knowledge of those who provide support and services to people dealing with abuse and violence in their lives. Topics addressed in the Guide include recognizing the signs of abusive behaviour, using technology safely, and developing a plan to leave a violent situation. The Guide was developed by STOPS to Violence, the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS), and the Saskatchewan SPCA. PATHS Executive Director Jo-Anne Dusel notes that the release of this Guide is especially timely during a time of increased isolation as people are being advised to stay at home if possible. However, in a violent household, this may be a dangerous option. “We want people to know that if home is not safe, there are safe places to go,” says Dusel. “Domestic violence shelters are still open.” The Guide provides information on how to access shelters and other community supports for the victims of intimate partner and family violence. Abuse can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or sexual identity, culture, or income. In a violent home, animals are also at risk. Animals may suffer directly from neglect or other forms of cruelty. As well animals can be used as a tool for the abuser to control and punish the victim. “Research shows that the victims of intimate partner and family violence may stay in a dangerous situation rather than leave without their pets,” says Sandra Anderson, Program Director at the Saskatchewan SPCA. Print copies of the Guide will be distributed to front line service providers in Saskatchewan. The Guide is also available, free of charge, at www.violencelink.ca/GO. Remember that abusive partners commonly monitor their victim’s communications. Do not share, tag, text, direct message, or email sensitive information to a friend unless you know it is safe to do so. The development of the Getting Out Guide has been made possible with the support of the Ministry of Justice, PrairieAction Foundation, and Signature Print-It (Regina).
About PATHS: The Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS) is the member association for twenty-three member agencies that provide intimate partner violence services across Saskatchewan. Our members are women’s shelters (also known as domestic violence shelters, safe shelters, transition houses, or interval houses), second stage shelters, and counselling centres that offer counselling and support to survivors of IPV. About the Saskatchewan SPCA: Since 1928, the Saskatchewan SPCA has been working to prevent animal cruelty and promote the humane treatment of animals. As the provincial voice on animal welfare, we help build safer, healthier communities. In cooperation with our partners, we raise awareness of the impact of family violence on both humans and animals. About STOPS to Violence: Saskatchewan Towards Offering Partnership Solutions (STOPS) to Violence is a province wide network drawing on partnerships, information sharing, and education to promote healthy relationships and build strong, peaceful communities. The STOPS Network is made up of community organizations, government partners, service providers, and individuals from across the province of Saskatchewan.