If you are in an unsafe situation, making a safety plan is very important. Here are a few things to consider when making a plan.
Safety During an Explosive Incident
- If there is an argument, try to be in a place that has an exit and not in a bathroom, kitchen, or room that may contain weapons.
- Practice getting out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevator, or stairwell to use.
- Pack a bag and have it ready at a friend’s or relative’s house.
- Identify one or more neighbors you can tell about the violence and ask them if they can call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
- Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends, and neighbors when you need the police.
- Decide and plan where you will go if you have to leave home.
- Use your instincts and judgment. In a dangerous situation, give the abuser what he wants to calm him down.
REMEMBER: You don’t deserve to be hit or threatened.
Safety When Preparing to Leave
- If possible, open a checking or savings account in your own name.
- Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, and extra clothes and medicines in a safe place or with someone you trust.
- Get your own post office box.
- Identify a safe place where you and your children can go or who can lend you money.
- Always keep the shelter phone number and some change or a calling card on you for emergency phone calls. If you have a cell phone, keep it with you (and charged) at all times.
- If you have pets, make arrangements for them to be cared for in a safe place. (AWARE advocates can help with this.)
REMEMBER: Leaving your batterer is often the most dangerous time.
Checklist: What You Need To Take
- Driver’s License
- Birth Certificate
- Children’s Birth Certificates
- Social Security Cards
- Money and/or credit cards (in your name
- Checking and/or savings account books
- Protective Order
- Lease, rental agreement, house deed
- Car registration and insurance papers
- Medical records for you and your children
- Vaccination records
- School records
- Work permits/Green Card/Visa
- Divorce and custody papers
- Marriage license
- House and car keys
- Valuable jewelry
- Address book
- Pictures and sentimental items
- Change of clothes for you and your children
Safety With a Protective Order
- If you or your children have been threatened or assaulted you can request a protective order from the court. (AWARE advocates can help with this.)
- Once you have obtained a protective order, always keep it with you.
- Call the police if your partner breaks the protective order.
- Inform family members, friends, neighbors and school personnel that you have a protective order in effect.
- Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond immediately
Safety In Your Own Residence
- If you stay in your home, lock your windows and change the locks on your doors as soon as possible.
- Develop a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them.
- Inform your child’s school, day care, etc., about who has permission to pick up your child.
- Inform neighbors and the landlord that your partner no longer lives with you, and they should call the police if they see him near your home.
- Never call the abuser from your home; he may find out where you live. Never tell the abuser where you live.
- Request an unlisted/unpublished number from the telephone company.
Safety On The Job and In Public
- Decide who at work you will inform of your situation. Include the office building security. (If possible provide them with a picture of your batterer.)
- When at work, if possible, have someone screen your telephone calls.
- Have someone escort you to and from your car, bus, or home.
- If at all possible, use a variety of routes to come and go from home.