Leaving abusive relationship means planning ahead, expert says

In Saskatchewan, which has the highest rate of intimate partner homicides in the country, getting out of an abusive relationship isn't always easy.

Joanne Dusel has advice for those who need to escape domestic violence

'We understand that leaving is not an event. It's a journey,' says Jo-Anne Dusel, the provincial co-ordinator of PATHS, which is the Provincial Association of Transition Houses of Saskatchewan. (CBC)

In Saskatchewan, which has the highest rate of intimate partner homicides in the country, getting out of an abusive relationship isn't always easy.

That's why those who must leave a violent relationship need to have a plan, says Jo-Anne Dusel, spokesperson for the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services (PATHS) of Saskatchewan.
Plans can include putting some money away and obtaining copies of car keys and important documents. Another idea is having clothing packed away, possibly left with a friend or in the trunk of the car. 

Speaking to Morning Edition host Sheila Coles, Jo-Anne Dusel noted that women in abusive relationships try to leave an average of seven times.

"We understand that leaving is a journey," Dusel said. "It's not an event."

There are various reasons an abused partner might not leave, including:

  • Economic
  • Religious
  • Family Pressure
  • Children
  • Embarrassment
  • Love

"Ultimately there is the safety concern because when you're in a relationship that is very volatile, the most dangerous time is the time when your partner becomes aware you want to leave," said Dusel, who is the provincial co-ordinator of PATHS.

Spouses who are leaving should tell someone they really trust — whether it's a friend, family member or counsellor —about their plans.
"If you have a friend experiencing domestic violence, let them know they are able to talk to you and you will not tell anyone," Dusel said. "It is OK to give them phone numbers for counsellors or domestic abuse hotlines. Let them know you know."

There were 58 intimate partner homicides in Saskatchewan between 2000 and 2010, the highest rate of any province in that period, according to Statistics Canada.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.