Domestic Violence Safety Tips
Safety During an Explosive Incident
- If an argument seems unavoidable, move to a room with easy access to an exit – NOT a bathroom, kitchen or anywhere near weapons.
- Identify which door, window, stairwell or elevator offers the quickest way out of your home – and practice your route.
- Find neighbors you can tell about the violence, and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance.
- Devise a code word to use with your children, family and friends when you need the police.
- Decide and plan where you will go if you have to leave home, even if you don’t think you will need to.
- Use your best instincts and judgment. Think of how best to keep safe until help arrives. If the situation is very dangerous, consider giving your abuser what he/she wants to calm him/her down. You have the right to keep yourself safe until you are out of danger.
Safety When Preparing to Leave
- Identify a safe place. Determine who will be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
- Have a bag packed and ready. Keep it hidden but easy to get to – for instance, at the house of a trusted friend or relative.
- Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, extra medicines and clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly. (See the Checklist of items to take with you.)
- Get information about protective orders from the House of Ruth, Domestic Violence Legal Clinic, your local police, victim assistance or the court.
- Call a domestic violence hotline. They can help you with support information and housing.
- Remember - leaving your batterer is the most dangerous time. Review your safety plan as often as necessary so you know the safest way to leave.
Safety at Home: After You Have Separated
- Change the locks and install safety devices on windows.
- Change your phone number and request to have an unlisted phone number.
- Develop a safety plan, and discuss it with your children, explain to your children what is going on in an age appropriate way. Review the plan as often as possible.
- Make sure your children’s school, day-care or camp knows who has permission to pick up your children.
- Tell your neighbors and landlord that your abuser no longer lives there, and ask them to call the police if they see that person near your home.
- Before you get back into a potentially abusive relationship, discuss alternatives with someone you trust.
- Get a Protective Order or Peace Order from the Circuit Court or District Court.
Ways to Make Travel Safe
- Always park in well-lit area/use busy bus stops.
- Always lock your car right away (when you leave or enter it).
- Ask someone to walk you to your car/bus stop.
- Always check the back seat before you enter your car.
- Never wait alone at a bus stop.
- Always carry pepper spray or mace with you.
- Use different streets to drive home.
- Look around at every stop light and before you get out of your car.
- If you see that your abuser is following you or waiting for you, go away and get to a phone and call 911.
Edited by Laure Ruth