Make Your Safety Plan
If you are in immediate danger call 9-1-1
- Have important phone numbers such as Safe Nest, and/or friends or family that may be able to help you. Keep a written/typed list of numbers in a safe place in the event you are unable to take your cell phone.
- If you have children, teach them how to dial 9-1-1.
- Make up a code word you can use with friends or neighbors you feel comfortable discussing your abuse with. If they hear you yell the word its instructing them to call 9-1-1.
- How to get out of your home safely. Practice ways to get out. Make sure children practice this as well.
- Safer places in your home where there are exits and no weapons; If you feel abuse is going to happen try to get your abuser to one of these safer places.
- Even if you do not plan to leave, think of where you could go. Think of how you might leave. Try doing things that get you out of the house – taking out the trash, walking the pet or going to the store. Put together a bag of things you use every day (see the checklist below). Hide it where it is easy for you to get.
Review your safety plan often.
If you consider leaving your abuser
- Think about three to four places you could go if you leave your home.
- People who might help you if you left.
- If you are researching how to leave on your computer or you are e-mailing people alerting them to the fact you are in an abusive relationship and are considering leaving, learn how to delete your browser history or and e-mails.
- Keeping change for phone calls or getting a cell phone.
- Opening a bank account in your name only or getting a credit card in your name.
- How you might leave. Try doing things that get you out of the house – taking out the trash, walking the family pet, or going to the store. Practice how you would leave.
- How you could take your children with you safely. There are times when taking your children with you may put all of your lives in danger. You need to protect yourself to be able to protect your children.
- If you have pets that you are unwilling to leave, think about how you could safely get out of the house with them; go to the dog park, walk, vet appointment.
- Make plans for your pets.
- Putting together a bag of things you use every day. Hide it where it is easy for you to get.
- Take photos of important documents if you don’t feel you have the opportunity to make copies or take them with you. Any documents you leave behind Safe Nest will help you with copies.
ITEMS TO TAKE, IF POSSIBLE
- Children (if it is safe)
- Keys to car, house, work
- Extra clothes
- Important papers for you and your children
- Birth certificates
- Social security cards
- School and medical records
- Bankbooks, credit cards
- Driver’s license
- Car registration
- Welfare identification
- Passports, green cards, work permits
- Lease/rental agreement
- Mortgage payment book, unpaid bills
- Insurance papers
- PPO, divorce papers, custody orders
- Address book
- Pictures, jewelry, things that mean a lot to you
- Items for your children (toys, blankets, etc.)
Review your safety plan often.
IF YOU’VE LEFT YOUR ABUSER
Now is the most dangerous time, and abuse may escalate.
- Get a cell phone.
- Getting a Temporary Protective Order. Keep a copy with you all the time. Give a copy to the people who take care of your children, their schools and your boss. Giving them a picture of the abuser may help them recognize the person if they attempt contact.
- Changing the locks.
- Telling friends and neighbors that your abuser no longer lives with you. Ask them to call the police if they see your abuser near your home or children. Also ask them to tell you if they see him.
- Telling people who take care of your children the names of people who are allowed to pick them up. If you have a temporary protection order protecting your children, give their teachers, school administrators and babysitters a copy of it.
- Not using the same stores or businesses that you did when you were with your abuser.
- If you must speak with your abuser for visitation purposes, do the exchange in a public place; even at a police sub-station.