CREATE YOUR OWN SAFETY PLAN!
You can create a less threatening environment for yourself and your children and regain control of your life by preparing for dangerous situations in advance.
IF YOU ARE LIVING WITH YOUR ABUSER:
Call the police (dial 911) if danger is escalating.
Tell a neighbor, co-worker, friend or family member about your situation, and ask them to call the police if you or your children are in danger.
Teach your children how to dial 911 and rehearse what they need to say.
If you have access to a cell phone, keep it handy at all times and know your location so you can call the Police if you are threatened.
Keep the Domestic Violence Hotline number available should you need assistance or guidance other than Emergency Police protection or intervention.
Educate yourself about the Protection Order and other legal options.
Educate yourself about shelters and resources available for battered women. Know what’s available before an emergency arises!
During an argument, stay out of the rooms where you know there are weapons such as guns, knives, tools, etc. Police may remove firearms when responding to domestic violence calls if the firearm is in view.
When the police arrive, stay calm and describe the incident as clearly as possible.
Keep an extra car and house key in a separate and secret place outside the home.
Plan where you will go if you have to leave in a hurry. For example: a shelter, a friend’s home, or a family member’s residence or maybe to the Police Station.
Be sure to have copies of all important documents, e.g. birth certificates, marriage license, passports, alien cards, tax returns, bank statements, bank checks and savings accounts, medical insurance information, legal documents, and keep in a safe place outside the home.
Keep an “Escape Bag” with a little money, clothing, toys for the children, snacks, important telephone numbers, and anything else you may need. Critical items such as eyeglasses, contact lenses, medication, appointment calendar, and updated pictures of your children might also be helpful. Put it in place where it cannot be found by the abuser–perhaps with a friend, neighbor or your workplace.
IF YOU ARE NOT LIVING WITH YOUR ABUSER:
Call the police (911) if you don’t feel safe.
Change the locks to your residence if the abuser has a key.
If you have a Protective Order, keep a copy with you at all times and call the police if the abuser violates the Order. Give a copy of your Protective Order to schools, daycare providers, a supportive neighbor, family or friend, and your workplace. Be sure they know to call the police if the abuser violates the order.
Get an answering machine with caller I.D. to screen your telephone calls.
Ask a work colleague or guard to escort you to your car, bus, or train after work.
Inform daycare centers, sitters and schools as to who has permission to pick up your children.
During exchange of children for visitation, arrange to meet in a public place such as a police station, a library, inside a shopping mall (but not in a parking lot), or at a family member’s home. It’s generally not a good idea to have visitation in your home without some other means of security available.
Do not allow the abuser into the home if he doesn’t live there. Tell your children not to open the door to anyone.
If you are receiving harassing telephone calls, dial *57. This will activate the telephone company’s CALL TRACE SERVICE. If the abuser leaves threatening messages on your machine, keep the tape.
Keep a journal documenting any harassment, incidents of abuse or threats. Include photographs of injuries and any damage to your property. Maintain a list of witnesses, if any.
If your abuser is in jail, keep informed of his status. If he is on probation, be sure you know the probation officer’s name and telephone number.