Planning For Your Safety
Step I – Plan for Safety if a Violent Incident Occurs
* Plan to keep your purse and car keys ready. Put them in a place that you can grab them and leave quickly.
* Tell a friend, neighbor or family member about the violence and ask them to call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from the house.
* Teach your children how to dial 911 to contact the police.
* Decide now where you would go if you have to leave your home.
* If you believe an argument is going to occur, move to a lower risk place in your home. Avoid bathrooms, the kitchen, garage, rooms where weapons are stored, or rooms without access to an outside door.
Step 2 – Plan for Safety When You Are Preparing to Leave
* Leave money and an extra set of keys, and copies of important documents with a neighbor, nearby friend or family member so that you can leave quickly.
* Leave extra clothes with a trusted friend/family member.
* Memorize the domestic violence hotline number 702-564-3227.
* Keep a change for phone calls, a phone calling card, or a cell phone at all times.
* Avoid making calls from your home phone that would display the numbers you have called.
* Decide on an escape plan and rehearse this plan. If you have children, practice with your children.
Step 3 – Plan for Safety with a Protection Order
It is important to remember that a protection order is just one tool of many you could use. You know your situation better than anyone. Please consider this when considering a protective order. Contact an Advocate for information.
* Keep your protection order with you at all times. Make copies and keep them in your car, your home, at your job or anywhere else you might spend time regularly.
* Inform your employer, your minister, your friends, your babysitters, your children’s school, and anyone else you or your children regularly spend time with.
* If your partner violates the protection order and you feel you are in danger, CALL THE POLICE. You should also plan on contacting your attorney, calling the court and advise them of the violation.
* If your partner is contacting your place of work repeatedly, you can ask a coworker to screen your calls.
* Consider your daily habits. Do you frequent the same grocery store or shopping center regularly and at the same times? If so, consider varying where and when you carry out your daily activities so they are different from your habits when you resided with your battering partner.
* Consider changing to a different bank or financial institution. It is also a good idea to vary the times you do your banking to different hours than when you were with your partner.
Step 4 – Items to Take When Leaving
If you decide to leave it is important to take important documents and items. The following is a list of items that should be taken. It is best to leave them in one location so that if you have to leave in a hurry you can take them quickly. Consider making copies of documents that can be copied and leaving them with your most trusted ally.
When You Leave be prepared to take:
* Your identification
* Your children’s birth certificates
* Social Security Cards
* School and vaccination records
* Checkbook, ATM Cards
* Credit Cards
* Keys – House/car/office
* Driver’s license and registration for your vehicle.
* Welfare Identification
* Work permits, green cards, passports
* Divorce Papers
* Medical Records for yourself and your children
* Insurance papers
* Address Book
* Children’s Favorite toys and/or blankets
* Items of special sentimental value
* Mortgage Information
Planning when Staying with your Partner?
*Identify things that have worked in the past to keep you safe.
* Think about what has happened in the past and how the abuser has acted. Identify clues that indicate when things are about to get violent (i.e. behavioral — body language, drug/alcohol use, etc. — and event driven — paydays, holidays, etc.).
* Identify what you will do if the violence starts again. Can you call the police? Is there a phone in the house? Can you work out a signal with the children or neighbors to call the police or get help?
* Explore ways to have dangerous weapons (i.e. guns, hunting knives, etc.) removed from the house.
* Identify dangerous locations in the house (i.e. the kitchen – knives, hot water, oven, etc.) and try not to be trapped in them. Install a lock on the inside of the bathroom or other room where you can be safe.
* Make a routine for going out each day (i.e. walking the dog, taking out the trash, etc.). Let others know what your routine is so they will know when something is off.
* Plan an escape route and practice it. Know beforehand where you can go and who you can call for help. Keep a list of addresses and phone numbers where you can go in crisis and keep them in a place where the abuser cannot find it.
Are you Living on your own and Being Harassed or Stalked?
* Change the locks on doors and windows (if the abuser has a key or access to a key).
* Install a better security system (window bars, locks, better lighting, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers). * Increase emergency response’s (police, ambulance) ability to find your house (have large visible street address outside the house).
* Talk to an Advocate about the Confidential Address Program.
* Determine the safest way to communicate with the abuser if they must have contact. If you agree to meet, always do it in a public place (preferably a place with a security guard or police officer), and it’s best to bring someone else. Make sure you are not followed home.
* If your partner follows in their car, drive to a police station or fire station and keep honking the horn.
* Create a safety plan for leaving work. Talk with your supervisor and building security at work and provide a picture of the abuser if possible.
* Teach your children a safety plan, including calling the police or family and friends if they are taken.
* Talk to your schools and childcare provider about who has permission to pick up the children and develop other special provisions to protect the children.
* Inform neighbors and/or landlord of the situation and advise them to call the police if they see suspicious activity around your house/apartment.
* Use the legal system. Understand the legal system cannot provide total protection. You must contribute to your own safety. Follow any court orders. If a judge orders your partner to stay away and not have contact, you should not speak to the abuser if contacted and inform the police immediately.
* Keep a journal of harassing phone calls and times you may see your abuser around the work place or neighborhood. Keep a journal of anything that happens between you, the abuser, and the children regarding visitation. See Stalking Journal.
* Concentrate on staying safe and don’t let your guard down. Safety planning around technology issues
* If you are leaving, or making plans to leave, use a public computer (i.e. at a library), or a work computer where the abuser does not have access.
* Be aware when visiting domestic violence sites on the internet that it’s not possible to completely erase the history. Likewise, it may raise more questions, if the history is suddenly blank.
* Be careful with sent or received e-mail on an account that is shared by your abuser.
* Know what features your cell phone is equipped with. Many cell phones now come standard with GPS (Global positioning satellites) that can be traced.
* Save and/or print any threatening e-mails. Remember that the internet can be a very dangerous place if you are being stalked or followed.
Please contact an Advocate for assistance in this planning at 702-564-3227 Hotline or 702-451-4203 Main Office.
DOWNLOAD ACTUAL SAFETY PLANS:
Internet Safety Alert
Your abuser can monitor the use of your computer and the Internet. Learn how to protect yourself.