Making a Domestic Violence Safety Plan!
When in a domestic violence relationship, thinking of your safety is very important and should be your number one priority. Having a safety plan in place can possibly make a difference between life and death. Being strategic can also give you a much better chance of escaping your abuser.
In addition to making a safety plan, it is important to get help. Do some research in a safe place to find help. You can call the national domestic violence hotline to find out information and get connected. Make these calls and do this research at a friends house or the library and use their phone. Be safe in not letting your abuser know you are seeking help.
In my last post I talked about Self Defense Techniques for Domestic Abuse. I mentioned coming up with a safety plan, but what does that safety plan look like?
The following steps represent a plan for increasing your safety and preparing in advance for the possibility for further violence. Although you do not have control over your partner’s violence, you do have a choice about how to respond to him and how to best get yourself and your children to safety.
Safety during a violent incident. Women cannot always avoid violent incidents. In order to increase safety, abused women can use a number of strategies.
You can use the following strategies:
A. If a violent episode occurs, what can you do to get out? Practice how you would get away. What doors, windows, elevators, stairwells, or fire escapes would you use?
B. Keep your purse and car keys ready and put them in a location that you can get to them quickly and get away.
C. Keep a change of clothes and a pair of shoes hidden outside where you can get to them in case you have to escape with no shoes or not enough clothing.
D. Talk to your neighbors about the violence and request that they call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from your home. (Be smart about this one. If your neighbor is good friends with your abuser you may not want to do this. You don’t want them to go back and tell your abuser about it.)
E. Teach your children how to call 911 and go over a safety plan with them and practice.
F. Have a code with your children and your friends that you can use to signal them to call the police.
G. Have a plan of where you will go if you have to suddenly leave, a friend or a family member. Make sure you make a plan with them in case it happens when they are not home or in the middle of the night.
H. If you expect there is going to be an argument, try to move to a place that is low risk. Avoid arguments in the bathroom, garage, kitchen, near weapons, or in rooms without access to an outside door.
I. Use your judgment and intuition. If the situation is very serious, you can give your partner what he wants to calm him down. Your safety comes first!
Safety when preparing to leave. Leaving must be done with a careful plan in order to increase safety. Abusers are most dangerous when their victim is leaving the relationship. Even if your abuser has never physically abused you, the risk of that happening when you are trying to leave is extremely high.
You can use the following strategies.
A. Begin to save money any way you can. Leave it with someone you trust to keep it for you along with an extra set of car keys.
B. Keep copies of all your important documents. Also leave them with someone you trust, with your money and a copy of all your keys.
C. Opening up a bank account might be helpful if you are able to save money. Make sure you do not put your address, use the address of someone you trust. It may be better to use a different bank than you already bank at with your abuser. This not only will help you when trying to get out on your own but it will also help to increase your independence.
D. When making plans, do not use your email, text, make calls to someone that would cause your abuser to be suspicious. Anything that there is a possibility that your abuser can track somehow, do not use it. Use the library, create an email account that he does not know about. Use your friends or family members phone, etc.
F. Pack up clothes, shoes and other necessities that you can leave with the friend or family member that you have set up to go to when you leave.
G. Important items to take with you.
a. Identification for yourself g. Welfare identification
b. Birth Certificates, yours and your children. h. Social security cards.
c. School and vaccination records. i. Money
d. Checkbook, debit card j. Passports
e. Keys k. Insurance papers
f. Medications l. Medical records
Safety in your own residence. There are many things that a woman can do to increase her safety in her own residence. It may not be impossible to do everything at once, but safety measures can be added step by step if it is possible for you.
Safety measures you can use:
A. You can change the locks on your doors and make sure all window locks are secure as soon as possible.
B. Replace wooden doors with steel/metal doors
C. Purchase rope ladders to be used for escape from second story windows.
D. Install smoke detectors and fire extinguishers for each floor of your house.
E. Install security systems including additional locks, window bars. poles to wedge against doors, an electronic system, etc.
F. Install outside lighting system that activates when a person is close to the house.
G Teach your children how to make a call to you and a friend or family in case your abuser takes them.
H. Tell people who take care of your children which people have permission to pick them up and make it clear to them that your abuser is not allowed to pick them up.
I. Make sure your friends and neighbors know that your abuser no longer lives in your residence and they should call the police if he is observed near your home.
I hope this has been helpful. Please be safe and plan ahead and change your life for better.
Peace and Blessings,