If you are still in the relationship:
Think of a safe place to go if an argument occurs, avoid rooms with no exits (bathroom or rooms with weapons, such as the kitchen).
Think about and make a list of safe people to contact. This can include your local domestic violence shelter.
Keep change with you at all times in case you need to make a phone call from a pay phone.
Memorize all important phone numbers.
Establish a code word or sign so that all family, friends, teachers or co-workers know when to call for help.
Think about what you will say to your partner if he/she becomes violent.
Always remember that you have the right to live without fear.
If you have left the relationship:
Change your telephone number.
Screen all calls. Purchase an answering machine or caller ID to help screen your calls.
Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving the batterer.
Change the locks if the batterer has a key.
Avoid staying alone. If you must be alone, check in with a safe person so that they will know if something is wrong.
Plan how you will get away if confronted by an abusive partner. This may include escape routes out of your home, or safe places in your home to go.
If you have to meet your partner, meet him in a public location with people around.
Vary your routine. Drive home using different routes, change your daily schedule so that your batterer will not be able to anticipate where you will be at any given time.
Notify your school and work contacts that you have left the relationship.
Call your local domestic violence program.
If you leave the relationship or are thinking of leaving…
You should take important papers and documents with you to enable you to apply for benefits or take legal action. Important papers you should take include social security cards and birth certificates for you and your children, marriage license, leases or deeds in your name or both you and your partners’ names, your checkbook, your charge cards, bank statements and charge account statements, insurance policies, proof of income for you and your spouse (pay stubs, W-2’s), and any documentation of past incidents of abuse (photos, police reports, medical reports, etc.). If you have a restraining order keep a copy with you at ALL times.
When victims leave, their batterers will often retaliate by destroying important personal property. They will destroy documents listed above to prevent victims from successfully obtaining assistance from social services and possibly the legal system, thereby setting their victim up for failure outside of the relationship. It is important to remember that when batterer’s realize that their victim is serious about leaving, they may go to extreme lengths to prevent their victim from leaving. This may include physically restraining the victim to abduction to homicide. That is why leaving the battering relationship is the most dangerous time for a victim.
To help you plan for your safety please refer to the personal safety plan. Only you know your batterer best and can determine the best way to be safe.
Your Personal Safety Planning
The following steps are my plan for increasing my safety and preparing to protect myself in case of further abuse. Although I can’t control my abuser’s violence. I do have a choice about how I respond and how I get safety. I will decide for myself if and when I will tell others that I have been abused, or that I am still at risk. Friends, family, and co-workers can help protect me, if they know what is happening, and what they can do to help.
To increase my safety, I can do some or all of the following:
When I have to talk to my abuser in person, I can…
When I talk to my abuser on the phone, I can…
I will make up a “code word” for my family, co-workers, or friends so they know when to call for help for me. My code word is..
When I feel a fight coming on, I will try to move to a place that is lowest risk for getting hurt, such as…
I can tell my family, co-workers, boss, or a friend about my situation. I feel safe telling…
I can use an answering machine or ask my co-workers, friends, or other family members to screen my calls and visitors. I have the right to not receive harassing phone calls.
I can keep change for phone calls with me at all times. I can call any of the following people for assistance or support if necessary and can ask them to call police if they see my abuser bothering me. Friend:
When leaving work I can…
When walking, riding, or driving home, if problems occur, I can…
I can attend a support group for women who have been abused. Support groups are held…
Telephone numbers I need to know: Police/Sheriff
Domestic Violence Shelter
Domestic violence is a pervasive problem in virtually all countries, cultures, classes and income groups. It is a complex and multifaceted problem with individual solutions that are appropriate for different women in different sociocultural contexts.
Both short and long-term measures must be considered. Short-term measures consist of assistance programs that protect the individual woman who has been or is being abused. They are often relied on during the critical period after a woman leaves her home, providing her with food, shelter, and guidance. This is the period when a woman is most at-risk from the perpetrator seeking retribution, or when she might return to the home out of a sense of hopelessness. Long-term measures seek to educate the public and empower the woman to reestablish her life without violence.
Any response should involve an interrelationship between the health, legal and social sectors, so that the woman is not continually referred to another agency. One innovative approach is the use of “family crisis centers” or “victim advocates” to use as the woman’s link to the various sectors. Support can come in many forms.