We’ve put together a series of guidelines for you to follow to keep you and your family safe from an abuser. If you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to help.
Guidelines to Keep you Safe
- If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in an area that has access to an exit and not in the bathroom, kitchen or near weapons. If possible, have the argument in a public setting, such as in a restaurant.
- Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevator or stairwell would be best.
- Have a packed bag ready and keep in an undisclosed, but accessible place, (i.e. trunk, friend’s/family’s place, etc.) to leave quickly.
- Find one or more neighbors to tell about the violence and ask them to call the police if they hear a disturbance 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 (even if you don’t think you will need to leave).
- Use your own instincts and judgment. If the situation is very dangerous, get to safety. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.
Order of Protection
- A Protection Order can be granted when there has been physical violence or the threat of it. Contact your local shelter for assistance.
- Keep your protective order on you at all times. (When you change your purse or wallet, that should be the first thing that goes in it.) Give a copy to a trusted neighbor, friend or family member.
- Call the police if the person breaks the protection order.
- Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police cannot respond right away.
Preparing to Leave
- Open a savings account and/or a credit card in your own name to establish or increase your independence. Think of other ways in which you can increase your independence.
- Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents and extra clothes with someone you trust, so you can leave quickly.
- Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
- Keep shelter or hotline phone numbers close at hand and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls.
- Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave your batterer.
Remember – leaving your batterer is the most dangerous time.
Safety in Your Home
- Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows.
- Discuss a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them. Have them practice the safety plan.
- Inform your children’s school, day care, etc. about who has permission to pick up your children.
- Inform neighbors and landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and that your landlord should call the police if he or she sees that person near your home.
Safety in Public
- Decide whom at work you will inform of your situation. This should include office building security. Provide a picture of your batterer if possible.
- Arrange to have someone screen your telephone calls, use caller ID or use an answering machine if possible.
- Devise a safety plan for when you leave work. Have someone escort you to your transportation and wait until you are safely en route. Use a variety of routes to go home, if possible. Think about what you would do if something happened while going home.
Your Emotional Health
- If you are thinking of returning to a potentially abusive situation, discuss an alternative plan with someone you trust.
- If you have to communicate with your partner, determine the safest way to do so. A public place is the safest place.
- Have positive thoughts about yourself and be assertive with others about your needs. Read books, articles and poems to help you feel stronger.
- Plan to attend a survivor’s support group to gain support from others and learn more about yourself and the relationship (call shelter for details).