Remember: An advocate from A Safe Place is available 24/7 to help you with safety planning. Call 508-228-2111You can develop a personal Safety Plan (PDF) for yourself if you need to leave suddenly. The tips and questions below will help you to prepare to set yourself up independently, away from your abuser, both temporarily and permanently. There are also safety tips for how to better protect yourself prior to or during a physical attack.
If you had the perpetrator evicted or are living alone, you may want to:
- Change locks on doors and windows.
- Install a better security system – motion sensitive lights, locks, better lighting, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
- Teach the children to call the police or family and friends if they are abducted.
- Talk to schools and childcare providers about who has permission to pick up the children.
- Find a lawyer knowledgeable about family violence to explore custody, visitation and divorce provisions that protect you and your children.
- Obtain a restraining order. Advocates are available to help any time, day or night.
If you are leaving the abuser, consider the following:
- How and when can you most safely leave? Where will you go?
- Are you comfortable calling the police if you need them?
- Who can you trust to tell that you are leaving?
- How will you travel safely to and from work or school or to pick up children?
- What community and legal resources will help you feel safer? Write down their addresses and phone numbers, and keep them handy.
- What custody and visitation provisions will keep you and your children safe?
- Is a restraining order a viable option?
- Open a savings account in your own name. Give the bank a safe address, like a post office box or your work address. A Safe Place can provide an address if needed.
- Leave money, an extra set of keys, and copies of your important papers with someone you trust. You may need to leave home fast, and you’ll need these things later. We can help with all of these things.
If you are staying with your batterer, think about the following:
- What works best to keep you safe in an emergency?
- Who you can call in a crisis?
- Would you call the police if the violence starts again? Can you work out a signal with the children or the neighbors to call the police when you need help?
- If you need to flee temporarily, where would you go? Think through several places where you can go in a crisis. Write down the addresses and phone numbers, and keep them with you.
If you need to flee your home:
- Know the escape routes in advance.
- Have the following available in case you have to flee
- Important papers such as
- Birth certificates
- Social security cards
- Marriage and drivers’ licenses
- Car title, lease or mortgage papers
- Insurance information
- School and health records
- Welfare and immigration documents
- Divorce or other court documents.
- Credit cards, bank account number and ATM cards
- Some money
- An extra set of keys
- Medications and prescriptions
- Phone numbers and addresses for family, friends, doctors, lawyers and community agencies
- Clothing and comfort items for you and the children
Before and during an attack do the following:
- Stay close to a door or window so you can get out if you need to.
- Stay away from the bathroom, the kitchen and weapons.
- Have a packed bag ready. Hide it in a place that you can get to quickly.
- Identify neighbors you can tell about the violence. Ask them to call the police if they hear signs of domestic violence coming from your home.
- Have a “code word” to use with your children, family, friends and neighbors. Ask them to call the police when you say that word.
- Know where to go if you have to leave home, even if you don’t think you will have to.
- Trust your instincts. Do whatever you have to do to survive.