GETTING OUT:

A Process Learned from the Courage & Wisdom of Survivors

The Getting Out Guide will help you identify the signs of an abusive relationship and how to leave a dangerous situation.

The Safety Planner offers guidance on what to take with you, where you can go, and who you can contact for help.

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SAFETY PLANNER cover green.png

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GETTING OUT

Dedication


To those who share the experience, strength, and wisdom they gain from leaving an abusive situation and to those still living in dangerous relationships.




Introduction


Being hurt or abused by someone you love or care about is confusing and scary. At times, you might feel afraid for yourself, your children, your family, pets, or others who are close to you. Abuse can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or sexual identity, culture, income, ability, or where you live. It is our hope that those who are experiencing violence and abuse recognize that there is help and hope for the future. This guide was created through a series of consultations across Saskatchewan with people who represent the diversity of our province. It 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. This guide is offered with respect and humility to honour those who have shared their personal experience, wisdom, and courage, and those who work every day to support people in our communities to find their strength to heal and build healthy, resilient lives for themselves and their families. This information is not a substitute for legal advice or personal counselling. Each situation is different and you may need professional support as you work through the process. Remember that you are not alone. There are people who will listen and help you as you begin to make changes. You have worth and value. You deserve to be safe, healthy, and happy. It is important to keep this guide in a safe and private place if you are currently living in a dangerous situation. If you are in danger, or require emergency services, call 911.





Part 1: Is This Really Happening to Me?

What's the cost?


Consultations last 50-minutes and are charged at the following rates. Standard Consultation: $190 per session If you have a Mental Health Care Plan, you will receive a Medicare rebate of $128.40, meaning your out-of-pocket (gap) cost is $61.60.




What should I expect?


The thought of discussing your difficulties with a professional might cause you some stress. This is especially the case if you've never seen a Psychologist before! In your first sessions, we will discuss the nature of your concerns and the impact they are having on your mood, behaviour, relationships or employment. We then identify your key goals and the things you would like to achieve. Later sessions focus on developing new strategies and techniques to help you cope better, reviewing these as we go.




How many sessions will I need?


Every person is different. You should ask your therapist how many sessions they think you might need if this is an important question for you. Generally, we ask clients to commit to six sessions, at which point you will talk with your therapist about your progress and decide on goals for further sessions. We work with clients for however long they feel they are benefiting from the sessions.




Will Medicare fund my sessions?


If you feel that you are experiencing mental health difficulties, visit your GP to discuss obtaining a Mental Health Care Plan. Once you have this, you will be eligible for medicare supported consultations. A Mental Health Care Plan supports you to access up to 10 individual sessions. The current medicare rebate is $86.15.




Can I use my Private Health benefits?


Most private health funds provide support to see a Psychologist. If you have private health insurance, you should ask your insurer directly whether they will provide funding, and how much, for your sessions.




Do you offer Bulk-Billed services?


In the event of significant financial hardship, we may be able to offer bulk-billed services. Note that there is usually a wait-list for bullk billed services and you must contact us directly to book your sessions. You cannot book via the online system.




Do you offer Telehealth services?


Short answer: YES!!! Long answer: All of our sessions are conducted through video-conferencing software which meets strict HIPAA privacy and confidentiality policies. Telehealth is a new way of delivering health care. It provides the client and clinician more flexibility with regards to when they schedule appointments. Video-consultations also provide you the option to join the meeting from a place of your choice, without having to physically attend a clinic. Medicare may provide rebates for Telehealth services, as do most private health funds. Please contact us for more information.




Do you only see Males?


Absolutely Not! MensPsych does not discriminate. We work with individuals from all walks of life. Don't let the name of our practice get in the way of engaging with our service!




Will I get a rebate for Telehealth?


Medicare rebates are currently available for all people who hold a valid Mental Health Care Plan. This means that Medicare will fund $86.15 of the session fee. Private health funds are increasingly providing support for Telehealth services. We encourage you to contact your health insurer to check your own policy rules.




Can I use my current Mental Health Care Plan at your clinic?


Yes! Medicare allows patients to use their current referral for psychological services at the provider of their choice (such as MensPsych). You are not required to see the practitioner that your GP suggests. You may even find that after a few sessions with that provider, you are not getting what you need and wish to change. Of course, we would encourage you to visit your GP and discuss you intentions. They are a critical part of your mental health care.




I'm a GP, how can I refer to your service?


Follow your normal procedures for the preparation, or review, of a Mental Health Care Plan. On completion, make the referral out to: MensPsych 271 The Parade, Beulah Park, 5067 PH: 08 8121 5961 Your patient can then contact our clinic directly on to make an appointment, and provide a copy of their MHCP.





Part 2: What Can I Do?

Building a Support System: Seeking Help


It is common for people to leave a relationship only to return because they didn’t find support. Part of your planning includes building a support system to help you through the changes you want to make. Choose people for your support system who you feel safe with and who will protect your privacy – those who will not betray your confidence or tell your abuser or others what you have told them. The people in your support system are an important resource for you. They will help you stay safe and strong as you make changes in your life. These people need to understand that sharing any information about you leaving the abuser can place you in serious danger. At the time of leaving an abusive situation, you are at an extremely high risk for a lethal assault. Please be extra cautious. The people in your support system will help you in different ways. Friends and family members might be good listeners and emotional helpers. They might watch your children while you attend appointments. They may be able to provide you with a safe place to stay or other basic needs. People from service organizations or other professionals can help you stay calm and focused so that you can follow through with your safety plan. They can intervene during a crisis. They can let you know about other programs and services that could assist you or they can help you through legal processes. The ways in which a support system can help will depend on your needs. Be clear about what you need from each person and what they can expect from you. Above all else, do not be ashamed or afraid to ask for help. People who care about you want you to be safe. Stay connected with your support system through phone calls, emails, texts, or visits in person. Tell someone from your support system when you come and go from home or appointments. Communication like this can help keep you safe. Create a safety code word that you can use in emergency situations. Share this code word with your support system and make sure that your system knows what to do if you use this word. Should they phone the police? Meet you somewhere? Come to where you are? If someone in your support system is unable to reach you and is concerned that you are in danger, they should call the police.




Preparing to Leave


You may face obstacles and challenges as you prepare to leave your relationship. For example, you could be faced with pressures that might lead you to believe that ending the relationship is wrong. Your family or community might try to convince you that you are disgracing the family name. It may seem that there is no one to ask for help and that you are without support. You may feel that you are being judged for wanting things to change. Maybe you believe that people will look down on you. You may be afraid for your safety or fear that no one will support you when you leave. You might think it is easier to stay than to leave. You may be worried about having enough money or being able to find a place to live. These fears are all valid. Your safety plan is your guide to leaving the abuse. Your safety plan should include what you will take with you, where you can go, and who you can contact for help. While you should try to make your safety plan as solid as possible, leave some room for flexibility in case the situation changes. Sometimes things come up at the last minute. Having a backup plan and leaving room for change will make things easier.




Financial Planning


Leaving the abuser might mean there is a change in the amount of money you have or receive. Having money to purchase food, gas, pay the phone bill, or find a place to live are all things you need to consider. Do not let the fear of not having money keep you in an unsafe situation. More often than not the abuser has made you feel that you are dependant on them; that without their help, you would not survive financially in the world. As part of your planning, you can make a budget and research options for income or income assistance. Organizations and people in your support system can help you apply for jobs or government support programs, work with you to create a budget, and teach you how to manage money. Here are some things to consider to gain financial freedom from your abuser and to build greater financial stability: Know where you stand It is helpful to know where you stand financially. Knowing your sources of income, bank account balances, property owned (house, car, cabin, etc.), monthly expenses and any debts owed (mortgage, line of credit, credit cards, loans) will give you a better picture of how financially secure you are and help you to consider your options. Who to contact?

  • Bank or Credit Union: if possible, choose a different bank or location from the one the abuser uses

  • Ministry of Social Services – Financial Assistance Saskatchewan Client Services Centre 1-866-221-5200 (toll free) 1-866-995-0099 (TTY); www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/family-and-social-support/financial-help

  • Band Office

  • Trusted friends or family members




Legal Issues


You have the legal right to be protected from abuse and violence. Talk to a service provider or someone in your support system for advice on affordable or free legal supports and services. Legal aid, pro-bono legal clinics, and community organizations are great resources. There are options to protect you, your children, and your property (including pets). There are a number of criminal and civil actions that you can take depending on your situation. Two of the most common are:

  • Peace Bond: If you have a real fear that you may be harassed or abused, you can get protection from the courts in the form of a Peace Bond. A Peace Bond is a promise made in court by the abuser to "keep the peace" for a certain length of time. The abuser must also obey any other conditions the court might add. As long as the conditions of the Peace Bond are met, the abuser will not be charged with a criminal offence.
  • Emergency Intervention Order (EIO): An EIO is a court order and can include things like removal of the abuser from the home, supervision by a police officer as you or the abuser pack up personal belongings from the home, or a condition that the abuser cannot contact you, your children, or your family. EIOs can be requested in an emergency situation when evidence of violence exists. EIOs can be issued 24/7. Police officers, victim service coordinators, and mobile crisis workers can help you apply for an EIO.
Who to contact?
  • Legal Aid 1-800-667-3764; www.legalaid.sk.ca
  • Community Legal Services for Saskatoon Inner City Inc. (CLASSIC) – Saskatoon 306-657-6100; www.classiclaw.ca
  • Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan 1-855-833-PBLS (7257) (toll free); www.pblsask.ca
  • Lawyer Referral Services, Law Society of Saskatchewan – Regina 306-569-8242; www.lawsociety.sk.ca
  • Victim Services 1-888-286-6664 (toll free) or 1-866-445-8857 (TTY)
  • Your local police service (RCMP, municipal, or First Nations)




Ready, Set, GO


Leaving is one of the hardest decisions you will ever make. There is no right or wrong way to leave an abusive relationship. Keep safety as your top priority and when it’s time, just leave. Don’t doubt yourself or your decisions. It will be a long journey and it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.





Part 3: Finding Help

What's the cost?


Consultations last 50-minutes and are charged at the following rates. Standard Consultation: $190 per session If you have a Mental Health Care Plan, you will receive a Medicare rebate of $128.40, meaning your out-of-pocket (gap) cost is $61.60.




What should I expect?


The thought of discussing your difficulties with a professional might cause you some stress. This is especially the case if you've never seen a Psychologist before! In your first sessions, we will discuss the nature of your concerns and the impact they are having on your mood, behaviour, relationships or employment. We then identify your key goals and the things you would like to achieve. Later sessions focus on developing new strategies and techniques to help you cope better, reviewing these as we go.




How many sessions will I need?


Every person is different. You should ask your therapist how many sessions they think you might need if this is an important question for you. Generally, we ask clients to commit to six sessions, at which point you will talk with your therapist about your progress and decide on goals for further sessions. We work with clients for however long they feel they are benefiting from the sessions.




Will Medicare fund my sessions?


If you feel that you are experiencing mental health difficulties, visit your GP to discuss obtaining a Mental Health Care Plan. Once you have this, you will be eligible for medicare supported consultations. A Mental Health Care Plan supports you to access up to 10 individual sessions. The current medicare rebate is $86.15.




Can I use my Private Health benefits?


Most private health funds provide support to see a Psychologist. If you have private health insurance, you should ask your insurer directly whether they will provide funding, and how much, for your sessions.




Do you offer Bulk-Billed services?


In the event of significant financial hardship, we may be able to offer bulk-billed services. Note that there is usually a wait-list for bullk billed services and you must contact us directly to book your sessions. You cannot book via the online system.




Do you offer Telehealth services?


Short answer: YES!!! Long answer: All of our sessions are conducted through video-conferencing software which meets strict HIPAA privacy and confidentiality policies. Telehealth is a new way of delivering health care. It provides the client and clinician more flexibility with regards to when they schedule appointments. Video-consultations also provide you the option to join the meeting from a place of your choice, without having to physically attend a clinic. Medicare may provide rebates for Telehealth services, as do most private health funds. Please contact us for more information.




Do you only see Males?


Absolutely Not! MensPsych does not discriminate. We work with individuals from all walks of life. Don't let the name of our practice get in the way of engaging with our service!




Will I get a rebate for Telehealth?


Medicare rebates are currently available for all people who hold a valid Mental Health Care Plan. This means that Medicare will fund $86.15 of the session fee. Private health funds are increasingly providing support for Telehealth services. We encourage you to contact your health insurer to check your own policy rules.




Can I use my current Mental Health Care Plan at your clinic?


Yes! Medicare allows patients to use their current referral for psychological services at the provider of their choice (such as MensPsych). You are not required to see the practitioner that your GP suggests. You may even find that after a few sessions with that provider, you are not getting what you need and wish to change. Of course, we would encourage you to visit your GP and discuss you intentions. They are a critical part of your mental health care.




I'm a GP, how can I refer to your service?


Follow your normal procedures for the preparation, or review, of a Mental Health Care Plan. On completion, make the referral out to: MensPsych 271 The Parade, Beulah Park, 5067 PH: 08 8121 5961 Your patient can then contact our clinic directly on to make an appointment, and provide a copy of their MHCP.





Part 4: Preparing to Leave

Building a Support System: Seeking Help


It is common for people to leave a relationship only to return because they didn’t find support. Part of your planning includes building a support system to help you through the changes you want to make. Choose people for your support system who you feel safe with and who will protect your privacy – those who will not betray your confidence or tell your abuser or others what you have told them. The people in your support system are an important resource for you. They will help you stay safe and strong as you make changes in your life. These people need to understand that sharing any information about you leaving the abuser can place you in serious danger. At the time of leaving an abusive situation, you are at an extremely high risk for a lethal assault. Please be extra cautious. The people in your support system will help you in different ways. Friends and family members might be good listeners and emotional helpers. They might watch your children while you attend appointments. They may be able to provide you with a safe place to stay or other basic needs. People from service organizations or other professionals can help you stay calm and focused so that you can follow through with your safety plan. They can intervene during a crisis. They can let you know about other programs and services that could assist you or they can help you through legal processes. The ways in which a support system can help will depend on your needs. Be clear about what you need from each person and what they can expect from you. Above all else, do not be ashamed or afraid to ask for help. People who care about you want you to be safe. Stay connected with your support system through phone calls, emails, texts, or visits in person. Tell someone from your support system when you come and go from home or appointments. Communication like this can help keep you safe. Create a safety code word that you can use in emergency situations. Share this code word with your support system and make sure that your system knows what to do if you use this word. Should they phone the police? Meet you somewhere? Come to where you are? If someone in your support system is unable to reach you and is concerned that you are in danger, they should call the police.




Preparing to Leave


You may face obstacles and challenges as you prepare to leave your relationship. For example, you could be faced with pressures that might lead you to believe that ending the relationship is wrong. Your family or community might try to convince you that you are disgracing the family name. It may seem that there is no one to ask for help and that you are without support. You may feel that you are being judged for wanting things to change. Maybe you believe that people will look down on you. You may be afraid for your safety or fear that no one will support you when you leave. You might think it is easier to stay than to leave. You may be worried about having enough money or being able to find a place to live. These fears are all valid. Your safety plan is your guide to leaving the abuse. Your safety plan should include what you will take with you, where you can go, and who you can contact for help. While you should try to make your safety plan as solid as possible, leave some room for flexibility in case the situation changes. Sometimes things come up at the last minute. Having a backup plan and leaving room for change will make things easier.




Financial Planning


Leaving the abuser might mean there is a change in the amount of money you have or receive. Having money to purchase food, gas, pay the phone bill, or find a place to live are all things you need to consider. Do not let the fear of not having money keep you in an unsafe situation. More often than not the abuser has made you feel that you are dependant on them; that without their help, you would not survive financially in the world. As part of your planning, you can make a budget and research options for income or income assistance. Organizations and people in your support system can help you apply for jobs or government support programs, work with you to create a budget, and teach you how to manage money. Here are some things to consider to gain financial freedom from your abuser and to build greater financial stability: Know where you stand It is helpful to know where you stand financially. Knowing your sources of income, bank account balances, property owned (house, car, cabin, etc.), monthly expenses and any debts owed (mortgage, line of credit, credit cards, loans) will give you a better picture of how financially secure you are and help you to consider your options. Who to contact?

  • Bank or Credit Union: if possible, choose a different bank or location from the one the abuser uses

  • Ministry of Social Services – Financial Assistance Saskatchewan Client Services Centre 1-866-221-5200 (toll free) 1-866-995-0099 (TTY); www.saskatchewan.ca/residents/family-and-social-support/financial-help

  • Band Office

  • Trusted friends or family members




Legal Issues


You have the legal right to be protected from abuse and violence. Talk to a service provider or someone in your support system for advice on affordable or free legal supports and services. Legal aid, pro-bono legal clinics, and community organizations are great resources. There are options to protect you, your children, and your property (including pets). There are a number of criminal and civil actions that you can take depending on your situation. Two of the most common are:

  • Peace Bond: If you have a real fear that you may be harassed or abused, you can get protection from the courts in the form of a Peace Bond. A Peace Bond is a promise made in court by the abuser to "keep the peace" for a certain length of time. The abuser must also obey any other conditions the court might add. As long as the conditions of the Peace Bond are met, the abuser will not be charged with a criminal offence.
  • Emergency Intervention Order (EIO): An EIO is a court order and can include things like removal of the abuser from the home, supervision by a police officer as you or the abuser pack up personal belongings from the home, or a condition that the abuser cannot contact you, your children, or your family. EIOs can be requested in an emergency situation when evidence of violence exists. EIOs can be issued 24/7. Police officers, victim service coordinators, and mobile crisis workers can help you apply for an EIO.
Who to contact?
  • Legal Aid 1-800-667-3764; www.legalaid.sk.ca
  • Community Legal Services for Saskatoon Inner City Inc. (CLASSIC) – Saskatoon 306-657-6100; www.classiclaw.ca
  • Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan 1-855-833-PBLS (7257) (toll free); www.pblsask.ca
  • Lawyer Referral Services, Law Society of Saskatchewan – Regina 306-569-8242; www.lawsociety.sk.ca
  • Victim Services 1-888-286-6664 (toll free) or 1-866-445-8857 (TTY)
  • Your local police service (RCMP, municipal, or First Nations)




Ready, Set, GO


Leaving is one of the hardest decisions you will ever make. There is no right or wrong way to leave an abusive relationship. Keep safety as your top priority and when it’s time, just leave. Don’t doubt yourself or your decisions. It will be a long journey and it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.





Part 5: Starting Fresh

What's the cost?


Consultations last 50-minutes and are charged at the following rates. Standard Consultation: $190 per session If you have a Mental Health Care Plan, you will receive a Medicare rebate of $128.40, meaning your out-of-pocket (gap) cost is $61.60.




What should I expect?


The thought of discussing your difficulties with a professional might cause you some stress. This is especially the case if you've never seen a Psychologist before! In your first sessions, we will discuss the nature of your concerns and the impact they are having on your mood, behaviour, relationships or employment. We then identify your key goals and the things you would like to achieve. Later sessions focus on developing new strategies and techniques to help you cope better, reviewing these as we go.




How many sessions will I need?


Every person is different. You should ask your therapist how many sessions they think you might need if this is an important question for you. Generally, we ask clients to commit to six sessions, at which point you will talk with your therapist about your progress and decide on goals for further sessions. We work with clients for however long they feel they are benefiting from the sessions.




Will Medicare fund my sessions?


If you feel that you are experiencing mental health difficulties, visit your GP to discuss obtaining a Mental Health Care Plan. Once you have this, you will be eligible for medicare supported consultations. A Mental Health Care Plan supports you to access up to 10 individual sessions. The current medicare rebate is $86.15.




Can I use my Private Health benefits?


Most private health funds provide support to see a Psychologist. If you have private health insurance, you should ask your insurer directly whether they will provide funding, and how much, for your sessions.




Do you offer Bulk-Billed services?


In the event of significant financial hardship, we may be able to offer bulk-billed services. Note that there is usually a wait-list for bullk billed services and you must contact us directly to book your sessions. You cannot book via the online system.




Do you offer Telehealth services?


Short answer: YES!!! Long answer: All of our sessions are conducted through video-conferencing software which meets strict HIPAA privacy and confidentiality policies. Telehealth is a new way of delivering health care. It provides the client and clinician more flexibility with regards to when they schedule appointments. Video-consultations also provide you the option to join the meeting from a place of your choice, without having to physically attend a clinic. Medicare may provide rebates for Telehealth services, as do most private health funds. Please contact us for more information.




Do you only see Males?


Absolutely Not! MensPsych does not discriminate. We work with individuals from all walks of life. Don't let the name of our practice get in the way of engaging with our service!




Will I get a rebate for Telehealth?


Medicare rebates are currently available for all people who hold a valid Mental Health Care Plan. This means that Medicare will fund $86.15 of the session fee. Private health funds are increasingly providing support for Telehealth services. We encourage you to contact your health insurer to check your own policy rules.




Can I use my current Mental Health Care Plan at your clinic?


Yes! Medicare allows patients to use their current referral for psychological services at the provider of their choice (such as MensPsych). You are not required to see the practitioner that your GP suggests. You may even find that after a few sessions with that provider, you are not getting what you need and wish to change. Of course, we would encourage you to visit your GP and discuss you intentions. They are a critical part of your mental health care.




I'm a GP, how can I refer to your service?


Follow your normal procedures for the preparation, or review, of a Mental Health Care Plan. On completion, make the referral out to: MensPsych 271 The Parade, Beulah Park, 5067 PH: 08 8121 5961 Your patient can then contact our clinic directly on to make an appointment, and provide a copy of their MHCP.





SAFETY PLANNER

Dedication


To those who share the experience, strength, and wisdom they gain from leaving an abusive situation and to those still living in dangerous relationships.




Introduction


Being hurt or abused by someone you love or care about is confusing and scary. At times, you might feel afraid for yourself, your children, your family, pets, or others who are close to you. Abuse can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or sexual identity, culture, income, ability, or where you live. It is our hope that those who are experiencing violence and abuse recognize that there is help and hope for the future. This guide was created through a series of consultations across Saskatchewan with people who represent the diversity of our province. It 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. This guide is offered with respect and humility to honour those who have shared their personal experience, wisdom, and courage, and those who work every day to support people in our communities to find their strength to heal and build healthy, resilient lives for themselves and their families. This information is not a substitute for legal advice or personal counselling. Each situation is different and you may need professional support as you work through the process. Remember that you are not alone. There are people who will listen and help you as you begin to make changes. You have worth and value. You deserve to be safe, healthy, and happy. It is important to keep this guide in a safe and private place if you are currently living in a dangerous situation. If you are in danger, or require emergency services, call 911.





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