The right to be safe (1103)

Key points below

Personal Safety Plan

No one has the right to hurt you or your child. It is important to reach out. The decision to leave can be hard. It may take time for you to feel ready.
Remember, when you leave can be the most dangerous time.  Review your safety plan often.  Abuse is never okay.  A person does not “ask for it.” Alcohol, drugs, financial pressure, depression, or jealousy are no excuse for abuse.  

Getting ready to leave

Practice getting out of your home safely.
Picture in your mind your escape route.
Plan for a safe place to go if you must leave suddenly.
Practice a code word or signal with your neighbor, children and family for when you need them to call the police.
Open a savings account or credit card in your own name or have money stored in a secret place. 

If you leave, bring these items

Safety of children

As violence increases toward you around the time of leaving, it will also increase toward the children. The risk for kidnapping, suicide and homicide increases.

Teach your children
Do not open the door.
How to call 911 and give address or location.
To leave home and get help if the abuser shows up.
Some signals of increasing danger
Obsession over you.  The abuser says they can’t live without you.
Depression and talk of suicide.
Threats to kill you, your children, or your relatives.
Attempts to kidnap you or your children.
Fantasies of homicide or suicide.
Violence gets worse or happens more often.
Possession of weapons or threats to use them.

How to increase your safety in the relationship

Write down important telephone numbers for your children and yourself.
Find a person or place where you can leave extra money, car keys, clothes, and copies of documents.
List four places you can go if you leave home because of violence.
1. _________________________________________
2. _________________________________________
3. _________________________________________
4. _________________________________________

After you leave

Think about getting caller ID, an unlisted phone number or a cell phone. Know and be cautious of the ways cell phones, cordless phones and Internet use can be tracked. Many domestic abuse programs can help with 911 cell phones.  Do these things:

Make your home safe and secure. This may mean installing a security system, smoke detectors and outside lighting system.
Change locks and reinforce doors.
Tell your neighbors that your partner no longer lives with you. Ask them to call the police if he is seen near your residence.
Tell teachers, childcare providers and family members who does and does not have permission to pick up your children.
Tell your boss about your situation.  Ask that your calls be screened and that no information be given out about you.
Rent a Post Office Box for your mail.
Avoid places and social situations where your abuser could find you.
Call the local courthouse if you need a restraining order.  Always keep a copy of the restraining order with you. The local police department will also have a copy.

Safety and emotional health

If you are thinking of going back, discuss your plan with someone you trust.
If you must communicate with your abuser, be sure to do so in the way that you feel safest.
Plan to attend a support group or call the domestic abuse program hotline.

Important telephone numbers

Restraining Orders:
Support Group:

National Domestic Violence hotline
(800) 799-SAFE
TTY (800) 787-3224