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Information / Domestic Violence / Safety Planning

Safety Plan

Safety during an explosive incident

  1. If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area that has access to an exit and not in a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere near weapons.
  2. Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, or stairwell would be best.
  3. Have an extra set of keys and a packed bag ready; keep them in an undisclosed but accessible place in order to leave quickly.
  4. 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.
  5. Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends, and neighbors when you need the police.
  6. Decide and plan for where you will go if you have to leave home (even if you don't think you will need to).
  7. Use your instincts and judgment. If the situation is very dangerous, consider giving the abuser what he wants to calm him down. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.
  8. Always remember: YOU DON'T DESERVE TO BE HIT OR THREATENED!

Safety when preparing to leave

  1. Open a checking and/or savings account in your own name to begin to establish or increase your independence. Rent a post office box to receive any mail which may not be safe to receive at home. Think of other ways in which you can increase your independence.
  2. Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents and extra clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
  3. Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
  4. Keep New Hope for Women's number close at hand and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls. Remember: you can call New Hope for Women collect 24 hours a day.
  5. Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave your batterer. REMEMBER, LEAVING IS THE MOST DANGEROUS TIME.

Safety in your own home

  1. Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows.
  2. Discuss a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them.
  3. Inform your children's school, day care, etc., about who has permission to pick up your children.
  4. Inform neighbor and landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and that they should call the police if they see him near your home.

Safety on the job and in public

  1. Decide who at work you will inform of your situation. This should include office or building security (provide a picture of your batterer if possible).
  2. Arrange to have someone screen your telephone calls if possible.
  3. Devise a safety plan for when you leave work. Have someone escort you to your car. Use a variety of routes to go home by if possible. Know where your police station is and drive to it if necessary.

Safety with a Protection from Abuse order (PFA)

  1. Keep your PFA on you at all times. (When you change your purse, that should be the first thing that goes in it.)
  2. Call the police if your partner breaks the PFA in any way.
  3. Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond right way.
  4. Inform family, friends, neighbors, and teachers, that you have a PFA in effect. Tell them any relevant details of the order (who has custody, when and where does visitation take place, etc.).

Your safety and emotional health

  1. If you are thinking of returning to a potentially abusive situation, discuss an alternative plan with someone you trust.
  2. If you have to communicate with your partner, determine the safest way to do so.
  3. Have positive thoughts about yourself and be assertive with others about your needs.
  4. Read books, articles, and poems to help you feel stronger. Keep a journal.
  5. Decide who you can call to talk freely and openly to give you the support you need.
  6. Plan to attend one of New Hope for Women's support groups to gain support from others and learn more about yourself and the relationship.

Other safety tips

Use your car keys for safety

If you suspect that you are being stalked by an abuser or by anyone you can use your car keys as a safety mechanism if you have one of the panic buttons with your keys. Keep your keys by the bed at night. If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house, just press the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off, and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies.

This tip came from a neighborhood watch coordinator. Next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys away, think of this: It's a security alarm system that you already have and requires no installation. Test it. In most cases it will go off from most everywhere inside your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the button on the key chain.

It works if you park in your driveway or garage. If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break in your house, odds are they won't stick around. After a few seconds all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and sure enough the stalker.

And remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot. The alarm can work the same way there.

Checklist - What you need to take when you leave

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  1. ____ Identification
  2. ____ Driver's license and registration
  3. ____ Children's birth certificates
  4. ____ Your birth certificate
  5. ____ Money
  6. ____ Lease, rental agreement, deed
  7. ____ Bank books
  8. ____ Checkbooks
  9. ____ Credit cards
  10. ____ Insurance papers
  11. ____ Keys - house/car/office
  12. ____ Medications
  13. ____ Medical Records
  14. ____ Social Security card
  15. ____ Welfare identification
  16. ____ School records
  17. ____ Divorce papers
  18. ____ Address book
  19. ____ Small saleable objects
  20. ____ Jewelry
  21. ____ Pictures
  22. ____ Children's small toys
  23. ____ Work permits
  24. ____ Green card
  25. ____ Passport
  26. ____ Personal treasures
  27. ____ Other

If you are a teen in a violent dating relationship

  1. Decide which friend, teacher, relative, or police officer you can tell.
  2. Contact the victim/witness advocate to decide how to obtain a Protection from Abuse order (PFA) or Protection from Harrassment order (PFH).
  3. Call New Hope for Women for crisis counseling and help in making a safety plan. There may be ongoing support groups in your school.

If your abuser is serving time at Two Bridges Jail

You may wish to be notified prior to your abuser's release date if your abuser is serving a sentence at Two Bridges Jail. To facilitate this process, you can fill out this form located on their website.