Your Safety

During an incident

If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area that has access to an exit and not a bathroom, kitchen or anywhere near potential weapons. 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 it in a undisclosed and accessible place in order to leave quickly. Identify a neighbor you can tell about the violence and ask that they 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 for where you will go if you have to leave home (even if you do not think you will need to). Use your own instincts and judgment. Consider giving the abuser time to calm down when the situation is very dangerous.

When preparing to leave

Open a savings account in your own name to establish or increase your independence. Leave money, 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 money. Keep the shelter phone number and 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 devise the safest way to leave your batterer. Remember - Leaving your batterer is the most dangerous time.

In your own 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. Inform your children=s school, daycare, etc., about who has permission to pick up your children. Inform your neighbors and landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and they should call the police if they see him near your home.

With a protective order

Keep your protective order on you at all times. Call the police if your partner violates the protective order. Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond right away. Inform family, friends and neighbors that you have a protective order in effect.

On the Job and in Public

Decide who at work you will inform of your situation. Arrange to have someone screen your telephone calls if possible. Devise a plan for when you leave work. Have someone escort you to your car, bus, or train. Use a variety of routes to go home. Think about what you would do if something happened while going home.

Your Safety And Emotional Health

Plan to attend a support group. 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 abuser, determine the safest way to do so. Decide who you can call to talk freely and openly to give you the support you need.

If You Are A Teen In A Violent Dating Relationship

Decide which friend, teacher, relative or law enforcement officer you can tell. Contact an advocate at the court to decide how to obtain a restraining order and make a safety plan.