If there is an argument, try to be in a place that has an exit and not in the bathroom, kitchen, or any 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 to call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
Devise a code to use with your children, family, and neighbors when you need the police.
Decide and place where you will go if you ever have to leave home.
Use your instincts and judgment. In a dangerous situation, placate the abuser if possible, to keep him or her calm.
Remember: You do not deserve to be hit or threatened.
WHEN PREPARING TO LEAVE
Open a checking account or savings account in your own name.
Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, extra clothes, and medicines in a safe place.
Get your own post office box.
Find a safe place where you and your children can go or a person 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 pets, make arrangements for them to be cared for in a safe place.
Remember: Leaving your batterer is the most dangerous time.
IN YOUR OWN RESIDENCE
If you stay in your own home, lock your windows and change the locks on your doors.
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 your neighbors and the landlord that your partner no longer lives with you, and that they should call the police if they see him/her near your home.
Never call the abuser from your home: he/she may find out where you live. Never tell the abuser where you live.
ON THE JOB AND IN PUBLIC
Decide whom at work you will inform of your situation. Include the building security (possibly provide a picture).
When at work, if possible, have someone escort you to and from your car, bus, train.
If at all possible, use a variety of routes come and go from your home.
If you or your children have been threatened or assaulted, you can request a protective order from the District Attorney. Always keep your protective order with you; MAKE COPIES.
Call the police if your partner violates the protective order.
Inform family members, friends, and neighbors that you have a protective order in effect.
WHAT YOU NEED TO TAKE
Children’s birth certificates
Social security cards
Money / credit cards in your name
Checking / savings account books
Lease, rental agreement, house deed
Car registration and insurance papers
Health and insurance papers
Medical records for you and your kids
Work permits / Green card / Visa
Divorce and custody papers
House and car keys
Pictures and sentimental items
Change of clothes for you and your children
Detailed Safety Plan
The following steps represent my plan for increasing my safety and preparing in advance for the possibility of future violence. Although I do not have control over my partner’s violence, I do have a choice about how to respond to him/her and how to get my children and myself to safety.
Step 1: Safety during a violent incident. Survivors cannot always avoid violent incidents. A variety of strategies may be used to increase safety.
I can use some or all of the following strategies:
A. If I decide to leave, I will __________________________________________________. (Practice how to get out safely. What doors, windows, elevators, stairwells, or fire escapes would I use?)
B. I can tell _______________________________about the violence and request she/he call the police if she/he hears suspicious noises coming from my house.
C. I will use __________________________________ as my code word with my children or my friends so they can call for help.
D. If I have to leave my home, I will go ______________________________________. (Decide this even if I don’t think there will be a next time.) If I cannot go to the location above, then I can go to _______________________ or ____________________________.
Step 2: Safety when preparing to leave. Survivors frequently leave the residence they share with the battering partner. Leaving must be done with a careful plan in order to increase safety. Batterers often strike back when they believe that a survivor is leaving a relationship.
A. I will leave money, an extra set of keys, and important documents with ____________________________so I can leave quickly.
B. I will open an individual savings account by (date) ______________________to increase my independence or I will find a safe place to hide cash.
C. The domestic violence program’s hotline number is ___________________________. I can seek shelter by calling this hotline. I will call ahead of time to find out the procedure for admission to the shelter.
D. I can keep change for phone calls on me at all times. I understand that if I use my cell phone, the following month’s phone bill might tell my batterer those numbers that I called after I left. To keep my telephone communications confidential, I must either use coins or I might get a friend to permit me to use their phone for a limited time when I first leave.
E. I will check with _________________________________and ________________________________ to see who would be able to let me stay with them or lend me some money.
Step 3:Safety on the job and in public. Each survivor must decide if and when she/he will tell others that a partner has battered her/him and that there may be continued risk. Friends, family and co-workers can help to protect survivors. Each survivor should consider carefully which people to invite to help secure her/his safety.
I might do any or all of the following:
A. I can inform my supervisor, the security supervisor, and __________________________ at work of my situation.
B. When driving, if problems occur, I can _____________________________________________.
C. I can use different grocery stores and shopping malls to conduct my business and shop at hours that are different than those used when residing with my battering partner.
D. I can use a different bank and take care of my banking at hours different from those I used when residing with my battering partner.
Telephone numbers I need to know:
Domestic Violence Hotline_______________________
Domestic Violence Advocate______________________
District Clerk (for registry of P.O.)_________________