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Tips and resources: Being in an abusive home during COVID-19

Public health measures to fight COVID-19 have forced most of us to isolate indoors. But for persons living in an abusive home, confinement can have serious consequences. If you’re isolated with an abuser, use these tips and resources to protect your physical and psychological well-being.

Safety planning

Your physical safety is the top priority. If you or your children are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1. Take steps to protect yourself in advance. Create a practical, personalized plan to maximize your safety — whether you’re confined or need to escape.

Things to consider when building your safety plan:

  • Identify safe areas in your residence (e.g., without weapons, with easy access to doors and windows) that you can move to when an argument occurs.
  • Keep a phone within reach and know which numbers to call for help. If possible, memorize the number of your local shelter.
  • Practise safe use with technology: use private searching, clear browser history, and be sure your email password is strong.
  • Keep all identification and important documents for you and your children in a safe, accessible place, in case you need to escape.

This online guide can help you build a more extensive safety plan.

Self-care and self-talk

Focusing on self-care when you’re in an abusive relationship may be challenging — especially at home, where it’s often difficult or unsafe to prioritize your own needs — but your mental health matters. Treat yourself with kindness and respect. It’s vital for managing stress and protecting your psychological safety.

Self-care ideas to consider:

  • Take a long bath.
  • Do an at-home yoga video on YouTube.
  • Find a quiet corner to read a book.
  • If it’s safe to do so, try journaling.

Monitoring what you tell yourself is also important. Practise positive self-talk to remind yourself of your worth and hone your ability to shift more naturally to positive thoughts. Example Instead of saying:

  • I can’t do anything right.
  • I’m useless.
  • No one likes me.

Try:

  • I have many talents.
  • I define my own success.
  • I like and accept myself.

Other resources

  • Emergency shelters and transitional houses are open. Find a shelter near you with this interactive map.
    • Even if you’re not planning to go to a shelter immediately, shelter workers can help you build a safety plan or arrange to escape.
  • Crisis lines are operating. Here’s a list of local resources and 24/7 crisis lines.
  • The Kids Help Phone Crisis Text Line offers free instant text-based support. Text HOME to 686868 in Canada to talk with a trained crisis responder.
  • Financial resources are available. Find the financial benefits available to you.

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