It takes a woman 7 attempts at leaving before she leaves an abusive relationship for good. When a woman leaves it at this time she is in the most danger. She more likely to be killed when she leaves.
- Find one person you can trust and let them know your situation.
- Tell your neighbors, not the ones who are scared or friendly with your partner
- Ask them to call the police if they hear a disturbance or call the police to do a welfare check if they haven’t seen you.
- Give a trusted individual duplicates or copies of ID, birth certificates, social security cards, children’s immunization records, a list of important numbers some cash or pre-paid debit card with the maximum amount you can have without bringing attention to your finances.
- Have a bag packed and ready. Keep it in an undisclosed but accessible place where you can retrieve it quickly
- Create an escape route. Pick which door, window, stairwell or elevator offers the quickest way out – practice your route and paly it over and over again in your mind.
- Find a safe place to go, someplace your abuser has no knowledge of, do not share this anyone, don’t tell your children, friends or family
- Make yourself aware of resources and programs that can help you in your time of crisis, try to memorize a go to number, if possible keep a copy of important numbers with you.
- You don’t have to be in a shelter to be connected to people that can help you before you leave
- Teach children how to dial 911, kids know what’s going on
In the midst of a violent incident
- Pay attention to mood changes, know their triggers, be aware of his abuse cycle (payday, holidays, etc)
- Try to defuse the situation by giving them they want
- Stay out of closed spaces where you can’t escape such as bedrooms and bathrooms.
- Move to a room or area with easy access to an exit
- Avoid the kitchen or anywhere close to weapons
- Avoid the children’s rooms or caring for them,(abusers tend to get jealous and will harm them)
- Hide knives or weapons, if there are guns in the home try and make sure they are locked up
- Try and avoid injury by escaping. Hide in spaces where it’s difficult to be hit.
- Curl up in a ball protecting your head and face.
- Try and call the police
- Come up with a code word to use with your children, family, and friends when you need the police.
SAFETY PLANNING AFTER YOUR LEAVE IF YOU REMAIN IN HOME
PFA’s are only effective for abusers who care about going to jail or feel they have something to lose
- Get a PFA include if your partner has access to weapons licensed or not. His homie, father or brother. Family knife collection.
- Share PFA with local law enforcement, If possible, provide a picture
- Stay on your game as if life your depended on it BECAUSE IT DOES, keep track of where he is(be aware of his movement so that you are able to stay safe)
- Develop a safety plan and discuss it with your children.
- Tweak it as circumstances change.
- Change the locks on doors and jimmy the windows and sliding doors with bars and wooden slats as soon as possible.
- Install security systems including additional locks, window bars, poles to wedge against doors, an electronic system, etc.
- Install an outside lighting system that lights up when a person is coming close to my house.
- Inform school, daycare and alternate caregivers who has permission to pick up children
- Don’t be ashamed to tell your neighbors or landlord that your abuser no longer lives there and ask them to call the police if they see him or her near your home and if you are not seen.
- Before you resume communication, meetings or relationship overall, tell someone you trust.
SAFETY IN PUBLIC OR AT WORK
- If possible change your work schedule
- Change childcare providers, change your child’s drop off pick up time and location
- Switch up your routine, park different places, use different entrances and exits
- Call or FaceTime someone when you’re walking to the bus stop, not to talk and be distracted it’s for someone to be aware of what’s going on
- Change your route and method of transportation
- Let your boss know what’s going on
- Let your job and security know If you have an PFA it won’t hurt to keep a copy with you at all times. Inform co-workers you trust of your situation. If possible, provide a photograph of your abuser to building security.
- Try to avoid walking to your car alone
- If possible and this can get tricky, arrange for someone to escort you to your car or bus stop
DRUG OR ALCOHOL USE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Most people in this culture use alcohol. Many use mood-altering drugs. Much of this use is legal and some is not. The legal outcomes of using illegal drugs can be very hard on a battered woman, may hurt her relationship with her children and put her at a disadvantage in other legal actions with her battering partner. Therefore, women should carefully consider the potential cost of the use of illegal drugs. But beyond this, the use of any alcohol or other drug can reduce a woman’s awareness and ability to act quickly to protect herself from her battering partner. Furthermore, the use of alcohol or other drugs by the batterer may give him/her an excuse to use violence. Therefore, in the context of drug or alcohol use, a woman needs to make specific safety plans.
SAFETY PLANNING WHILE DRUNK OR HIGH
Try to avoid using with your partner- it can throw you off, take you out the game and make you less aware of what going on, you might act out or attempt to get violent.
If you use is social setting, take precautions to keep yourself safe. Be aware of cues or shift in your partner’s mood that may put you at risk. If you sense things are escalating remove yourself, inform others.
These tips can be applied to several different scenarios: Social Gatherings-Bar-Parties-Cook-out-Friend or a Relative’s house(Understand the dynamics when your spending time with his peoples vs. your own.)
- Become the designated driver. If you have an extra set of keys bring them. Take separate cars. Have enough money for a ride. Arrange for someone to be on stand-by to come and get you.
- When things are escalating, leave. Do not to leave with your partner.
- See if there are alternate exits try and avoid being in the same space until you can figure out how to stay safe
- Know your tolerance level, monitor you own usage, try to keep usage to a minimum
- If your use is habitual and in the home or you use with your partner-do your best to pay attention to their level of high or drunk, be aware of cues or shift in your partner’s mood
- Don’t engage in arguments or avoid hot topics (like money, your feelings or the relationship)
- Try to defuse the situation by giving them they want
If you can’t avoid a violent episode, refer to safety measures that listed when your in the midst of a violent episode
SAFETY PLANNING WITH TECHNOLOGY
As you surf the internet on your computer, the places you visit are stored on the computer you use. Bills you pay and purchases you make are tracked. Instant messages and emails can be retrieved. Keep in mind that as you use a computer, it might be monitored. Safe computers can be found at the local library, internet café, shelter, work or computer technology center. Always use safe computers when researching things such as travel plans, housing options, legal issues and safety plans.
Your abusive partner could have access to your email account. To be safe, open an email account your partner does not know about on a safe computer and use that account for safety planning and sensitive communications. It is a good idea to keep your monitored account active with non-critical emails in order to maintain appearances.
- CELL PHONE
Cell phones can put you at a higher risk. They can be used to track your exact location in real time. Calling and text history can also be retrieved by an abusive partner. The same precautions you use for the computer applies to cell phone usage. Additionally, a location tracking device (GPS) can be placed on your phone, car or in your purse. Consider purchasing a pay as you go phone that you keep in a safe place to allow you to make calls.
- SOCIAL MEDIA
Pay attention to their social media pages. Only post things you want the public to see or know. Once it’s online, it’s no longer under your control. Be protective of your personal information. Your phone numbers and addresses enable people to contact you directly, and things like your birth date, the schools you attended, your employer and photos with landmarks may make it easier for someone to find where you live, hang out or go to school. Set boundaries and limits. Tell people not to post personal information, negative comments or check-ins about you on social media. Ask people not to post or tag pictures if you’re not comfortable with it.
Keep your passwords private – there is no need to share passwords to social media accounts with anyone.
If you need help in planning your safety in the midst of an abusive partner, download and fill out our domestic violence personalized safety plan. It will help you get ready for any potential attacks.