No one deserves to be abused emotionally, physically, sexually, financially or any other way. If you are being hurt by someone you love, make plans and take precautions to keep you and your children safe. Choose the suggestions listed here that make the most sense for you and your set of circumstances.
SAFETY DURING AN EXPLOSIVE INCIDENT
- If you can see an argument or physical assault coming, try to go to an area that has access to an exit, NOT a bathroom (near hard surfaces), a kitchen (knives), or anywhere near weapons.
- Try to stay in a room with a phone or keep a cellular phone with you, so you can call 911, a friend, or family member.
- Keep your purse or wallet and keys ready to leave suddenly.
- Practice how to get out of your home safely. Visualize your escape route. Identify the best doors, windows, elevator, or stairwell.
- Plan a safe place to go if you have to leave suddenly.
- Ask a neighbor to call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
- If you are being attacked physically, curl up and protect your head.
- Use your instinct or judgment. If the situation is very dangerous, consider any action that might calm things down, to give you time to assess what to do next.
- If you have a disability that limits your mobility and impacts your safety during an explosive incident, think about how you might access assistance for protection or to flee.
WHEN PREPARING TO LEAVE
- Have all your essential items in one area. These are items that you may need every day such as:
Picture Identification Birth Certificates/Social Security Cards
Immigration documents and/or Passports Medications
Lease, Rental agreement, and house deed Money
Copy of Restraining Order/Injunction Divorce and Custody Papers
Heath and Life Insurance papers Keys
Car registration and Insurance papers Medical/School records
- Leave some money, extra keys, copies of important papers, and extra clothes with someone you trust.
- Open a bank account or credit card in your own name or have money stored in a secret place. Make sure your accounts have passwords that your abuser cannot guess.
- Have a bag packed and ready. Keep it in a safe but accessible place, so you can leave quickly if you need to.
- If you have a vehicle, make a habit of backing the vehicle into the driveway and keeping it fueled. Keep the driver’s door unlocked and the others locked for a quick escape.
- Talk with a trusted family member or friend about your plan.
- Think about a word or signal you could use with a neighbor or someone nearby, in case of an emergency so they can call for help.
- Think about a safe place to go. Options may include staying with a friend, family member or Rainbow House.
- Consider contacting Rainbow House, or your local domestic violence agency, in regards to getting a Restraining Order/Injunction (order of protection).
- Consider getting caller ID, an unlisted phone number or a cell phone. Be aware and cautious of ways cell phones, TTY machines, cordless phones and internet use can be tracked.
- Rent a post office box for your mail so you can receive deliveries confidentially.
- Change the locks on your doors. Get more locks, safety devices, and lighting.
- Be aware of how technology may either help or hinder your safety. Use public computers such as those in your library rather than in your home.
- Consider changing all passwords that your abuser may be aware of.
- Take caution when using any social networks when discussing your situation and current residence.
- Be aware that cellular phones can contain GPS tracking devices and that calls can be intercepted. Cell phones can also access 911 even without service.
IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN
- Teach your children that violence is never right, even when someone they love is being violent. Tell them that neither you, nor they, are at fault or are the cause of the violence, and that when anyone is being violent, it is important to stay safe.
- Teach them not to get in the middle of a fight, even if they want to help.
- Teach them a word and/or signal you can use if you want them to call 911. Make sure they know how to get help or call 911, where to go to be safe, and how older children can help younger ones.
- When meeting your abuser to exchange the children, insist on a busy public place where other people will be close by.
IF YOU HAVE PETS
- Have ready and available a leash and/or pet carrier.
- Find a safe place ahead of time, family, friends, or veterinarian who could temporarily take your pet.
- Know your pet’s favorite hiding spot in the house, so you don’t have to spend extra time looking for them in case of an emergency.
IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER, ALWAYS CONSIDER YOUR SAFETY FIRST.