LEAVING A VIOLENT RELATIONSHIP IS THE MOST DANGEROUS TIME FOR A WOMAN AND HER CHILDREN. THE ABUSER WILL DO ANYTHING TO REGAIN CONTROL OF HIS VICTIMS AND MAKE THEM VULNERABLE. PLAN AHEAD FOR YOUR SAFETY.
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SAFETY DURING A VIOLENT INCIDENT
- I will use the windows, doors, elevator, stairs, or fire escape to get away.
- My keys are in my purse or in a safe place so I can leave quickly.
- My friends/family/neighbors are aware of my situation and can call police if needed.
- My children know how to dial 911 for help.
- My children and I have a ‘code word’ to call for help.
- I have made arrangements with friends, family, or with a shelter when I do leave.
- I have a plan B & C just in case my original plan does not work.
- When arguments arise, I go to a low risk place in the house (avoiding the bathroom, garage or kitchen where weapons can be in the room).
- I understand that the Protection Order is there to protect me and my children.
- I will keep a copy of the Protection Order with me at all times.
- I will make a copy and give it to someone I trust; friends, school, work, daycare, etc.
- I will call the police immediately if my partner violates the Protection Order.
- I will use my escape route if the police cannot respond immediately.
- I will give my neighbors a picture of my abuser and ask them to call the police if they see him near my home.
- I will seek medical treatment immediately if I or my children have been physically injured.
- I will document my abuse and injuries (take photos of injuries, get copies of doctor’s reports and police reports).
- I have money and an extra set of keys with a friend/neighbor so I can leave quickly.
- Some people I can ask for extra money and a place to stay are:_________________.
- I keep a list of safe numbers to call if I need help.
- I have extra clothes ready for myself and my children.
- I have extra copies of all important documents for myself and my children.
- I can open a savings account now to establish credit and financial independence. I am prepared to close my existing bank account and open a new one elsewhere.
- I will use cash only and will not use credit or debit cards (these can be tracked by my abuser).
- I know the passwords and PIN numbers for my accounts and how to change them.
- I have called my cell phone company and asked them to disable the GPS chip in my phone so my abuser can’t use my cell phone to track my location.
- I know the password for my email account and how to change it.
SAFETY ON THE JOB AND IN PUBLIC
- I will inform my employer that I have a Protection Order.
- I can ask that my calls be screened at work.
- I will give a picture of my abuser to co-workers and security guards.
- I will always take extra precautions of my surroundings when I am alone.
- I will park in a well-lit area at work, and when I leave work I will have a security guard accompany me to my car.
- When driving home, if problems occur I can lock my door and put on my emergency flashers and/or honk the horn.
- On bus routes, I will remain in the bus and ask the driver to call the police.
- I will do my shopping and conduct other business while my abuser is at work.
- If my abuser attempts to intimidate, harass, or threaten me in the store, I will go to the manager and ask him/her to call the police.
- If my partner is waiting for me in the store parking lot I will call the police.
- I will use another bank and do my banking while my abuser is at work.
- I will take extra steps to avoid a confrontation with my abuser.
SAFETY PLAN FOR CHILDREN WHO ARE IN A VIOLENT SITUATION
- I will develop realistic safety plans to minimize the risk of violence to me and my children.
- I will keep change in a safe place to use at a pay phone to call police and/or teach my children how to use my cell phone to call for help.
- I will plan which friend/neighbor’s house the children can run to for protection and they will know to call 911 when they get there.
- I will teach my children their first and last name, phone number, address, and parents’ names.
- I will practice the ‘code word’ to be used in a crisis as a signal to call for help.
- I will teach my children that if a parent or other adult is threatening to kill them, their siblings, or anyone else – they should run out of the house, go to a friend/neighbor’s house, and call for help.
SAFETY IN MY RESIDENCE
- I will change locks on windows and doors.
- I will install a security system.
- I will wedge poles/sticks against the doors and windows and purchase additional locks.
- I will install a lighting system with motion detectors.
- I will check smoke detectors and ensure my fire extinguishers are working properly.
- I will check with the local domestic violence agency to obtain a ‘safeline’ phone, which is directly linked to 911.
- I will purchase a phone with a speed dial option for my children to use.
- I will inform my daycare provider who can and cannot pick up your children.
SAFETY AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH AND WELL BEING
- When I feel down and want to return to a potentially abusive relationship, I can call _____________________ at __________________ for support and guidance.
- Support groups are designed to educate me about violence and about my options. I can get help and support from women who have left violent relationships.
- If I have to talk to my partner, I will take someone with me.
- If I am frightened of my partner, I can obtain a TPO (Temporary Protection Order) or a Stalking & Harassment Order through the courts.
- I know that advocates are available to help me through the legal system.
DEPRESSION, COUNSELING, DRUG OR ALCOHOL ABUSE
- I understand that the dynamics of domestic violence can be frightening and very traumatic for me and for my children. It is okay to ask for help.
- I understand that my regular support systems, (family, friends) might become frustrated because they do not know how to help me.
- I will carefully consider the consequences of using alcohol and drugs.
- I know that I am responsible for my actions, and I will not jeopardize my safety or that of my children.
- If I have thoughts of suicide, become depressed, or feel isolated, I will call a victim advocate, a friend, or a family member.
- I know I can seek counseling through domestic violence agencies.
- I know that I can call _____________________ at_____________________ for support and guidance.
- If I become overwhelmed, frustrated, and need a break, I know I can take a time out and call the Domestic Violence Agency where there are parenting and other support systems in place to help me.