SAFETY PLAN FOR VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
- Keep important phone numbers nearby for you and your children. Numbers to have are the Police, Hot-Lines, friends and the Local Shelter.
- Have friends or neighbors that you feel safe telling about the abuse. Ask them to call the police if they hear angry or violent noises. If you have children, teach them how to dial 911. Make up a code word that you can use when you need help.
- Figure out how to get out of your home safely. Practice ways to get out.
- Find safe places in your home where there are exits and no weapons. If you feel abuse is going to happen, try to get your abuser to one of these safer places.
- If there are any weapons in the house. Think about ways that you could get them out of the house.
- Even if you do not plan to leave, think of where you could go and be safe. Think of how you might leave. Start routines that get you out of the house - taking out the trash, walking the pet or going to the store. Put together a bag of things you use every day (see the checklist below). Hide it where it is easy for you to get.
- Go over your safety plan often.
If you must leave
- Have more than one place you could go if you must leave your home.
- Think about people who might help you if you had to leave. Think about people who will keep Personal Belongings for you. Think about people who might lend you money. Make plans for your pets.
- Keep coins for phone calls or keep a Cell Phone with a person that you can trust.
- Open a Bank Account or get a Credit Card in your name to a trusted person's address.
- Use the routines that you have established so that you can get out of the house - taking out the trash, walking the family pet, or going to the store. Practice how you would leave.
- Think about how you could take your children with you safely. There are times when taking your children with you may put all of your lives in danger. You need to protect yourself so that you can protect your children.
- Get access to your bag of Personal Belongings that you use every day. Hide it where it is easy for you to get.
ITEMS TO TAKE, IF POSSIBLE
Children (if it is safe)
Keys to car, house, work
Important papers for you and your children
Social Security Cards
School and Medical Records
Bankbooks, Credit Cards
Passports, Green Cards, Work Permits
Mortgage Payment Book, unpaid bills
Personal Protection Order, Divorce Papers, Custody Orders
Pictures, jewelry, things that mean a lot to you
Items for your children (toys, blankets, etc.)
Review your Safety Plan often.
After you leave think about:
- Your safety - you still need to be safe.
- Getting a Cell Phone. You can get a Cell Phone that is programmed to only call 911. These phones are for when you need to call the police and cannot get to any other phone.
- Getting a Personal Protection Order from the court. Keep a copy with you all the times. Give a copy to the Police, people who take care of your children, their schools, and your boss.
- Changing the locks. Consider putting in stronger doors, smoke, and carbon monoxide detectors, a security system and outside lights.
- Telling friends and neighbors that your abuser no longer lives with you. Ask them to call The Police if they see your abuser near your home or children.
- Telling people who take care of your children the names of people who are allowed to pick them up. If you have a Personal Protection Order protecting your children, give their Teachers and Babysitters a copy of it.
- Telling someone at work about what has happened. Ask that person to screen your calls. If you have a Personal Protection Order that includes where you work, consider giving your boss a copy of it and a picture of the abuser. Think about and practice a safety plan for your workplace. This should include going to and from work.
- Not using the same stores or businesses that you did when you were with your abuser.
- Someone that you can call if you feel depressed. Call that person if you are thinking about going to a support group or workshop.
- Safe ways to speak with your abuser if you must.
- Going over your Safety Plan often.
Abusers try to control their victim's lives. When abusers feel a loss of control - like when victims try to leave them - the abuse often gets worse. Take special care when you leave. Keep being careful even after you have left.