As a victim of domestic violence, you understand your situation better than anyone else. In your relationship, you have already been taking steps to keep yourself and your children safe. Discussing your safety plan with an advocate can help you think of other information that you might not have thought of while living in crisis. Even if you have used the court system, called the police, and/or have an existing order of protection, it is still very important to consider a safety plan. Safety plans can be made for a variety of different situations, including:
- dealing with an emergency, such as if a physical assault occurs;
- continuing to live with a partner who has been and/or continues to be abusive;
- and protecting yourself after you have ended a relationship with an abusive partner.
If You Decide To Leave
It is important to understand that leaving may not be the safest option for everyone, and to trust that you know what is best for you. Abusers often escalate their tactics to threaten or harm their partners when they leave the relationship. During this time, abusers feel like they are losing control over their partners.
With that in mind, here are some precautions to consider when preparing to leave or after you've left:
- Review your safety plan often.
- Open a bank account or get a credit card in your name.
- Get a P.O. box in your name.
- Change the locks. Consider putting in stronger doors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, a security system and motion sensor outside lights.
- Consider how you can more safely use technology and social media.
- Tell friends and neighbors that your abuser no longer lives with you. This doesn't mean you need to tell them about the abuse, but simply lets them know the abuser is not living with you anymore.
- Tell childcare providers the names of people who are allowed to pick up your children. If you have an order of protection protecting your children, give their teachers and babysitters a copy of it.
- Tell someone at work about what has happened. Ask that person to screen your calls. If you have an order of protection that includes where you work, consider giving your boss a copy of it and a picture of the abuser. Think about and practice a safety plan for your workplace. This should include going to and from work.
- Make copies of keys and important documents and find a safe place to keep them in case you decide to leave. A safe place can include a hiding place in your home or with a friend, neighbor or family member that you trust.