Safety Planning - ACCESS - Assault Care Center Extending Shelter & Support

Safety Planning

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For victims of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and stalking, there can be situations in which you fear for your physical safety.  On this page, you'll find information on some precautions to take when planning to leave an abusive relationship, during an explosive incident in an abusive relationship, or when being stalked or harassed by an intimate partner, sexual abuse perpetrator, or other individual.

SAFETY & YOUR EMOTIONAL HEALTH

  • If you have to communicate with your partner, determine the safest way to do so.
  • Have positive thoughts about yourself and be assertive with others about your needs. Read books, articles and poems to help you feel stronger.
  • Decide who you can call to talk with freely and openly, and who will give you the support you need.
  • Consider attending support groups or seeking outside counseling.

SAFETY WITH A PROTECTIVE ORDER

  • Keep your protective order with you at all times. Keep a copy in your car, purse, with your children and give a copy to a trusted neighbor or family member.
  • Call the police if your partner breaks the protective order.
  • Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond right away.
  • Inform family, friends, neighbors and your health care provider that you have a protective order in effect.

SAFETY DURING AN EXPLOSIVE INCIDENT

  • Call 911 for immediate attention from law enforcement or medical professionals.
  • Be aware of your surroundings…where are the exits? Stay away from bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms or anywhere weapons might be available.
  • Have a bag packed and easily accessible if you need to leave quickly. Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevators, or stairwell would be best.
  • Make a plan for where you will go if you leave.
  • Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends and neighbors when you need the police.

SAFETY AT WORK, SCHOOL OR IN PUBLIC

  • Decide who at work you will inform of your situation. Is there security in your building? Provide a picture of your batterer, if possible, to security personnel.
  • Inform your children's school, day care, etc. about who has permission to pick up your children.
  • If possible, have someone escort you to your car or bus and wait with you until you are safely en route.
  • Use a variety of routes to get home and to other destinations.

SAFETY IN YOUR HOME (IF THE ABUSER IS NOT CURRENTLY LIVING THERE)

  • Change the locks on your doors and buy additional locks and safety devices.
  • Have an answering machine or caller ID to screen your calls.
  • Inform neighbors and/or your landlord that your partner no longer lives there or is no longer welcome and that they should call the police if they see your partner around.

PREPARING TO LEAVE

  • If you share finances, open up a separate checking or savings account in your own name to start to establish or increase your independence.
  • Make copies of keys, important papers and put them in a safe place.
  • Stash extra money, medications and clothes in a safe but quickly accessible place.
  • Keep all important numbers close at hand. Keep a calling card, change, or a cell phone around for emergencies.

Checklist: What to Take When You Leave

  • Drivers License
  • Money
  • Keys
  • Pictures
  • Social Security Card
  • Credit Cards
  • Medications
  • Clothes
  • Passports
  • Checkbook
  • Phone Card
  • Address Book
  • Car Registration
  • Car Insurance Papers
  • Health & Life Insurance Papers
  • Medical Records for you and your children
  • Birth Certificates (yours/your children's)
  • Protective Order (if applicable)
  • Divorce Papers
  • Custody Papers
  • Jewelry
  • Children's Small Toys
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