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Whether you are currently living with your abuser or have moved out, a safety plan can reduce your risk of being harmed. The better you plan for your departure, the safer you will be.
Safety at home:
Call the police by dialing 911 if you are in danger and need immediate help.
The police are here to protect us and make sure we are safe. You do not have to call the police only if you have been physically hurt. If your abuser threatens to hurt you or your family you have the right to call the police. Here in the US, domestic violence is against the law. The police can help you and they will take what you say seriously. If you do not feel comfortable talking to the police in English, you have the right to request an interpreter and to have one provided to you as soon as possible.
- Tell someone you trust what is happening to you. If possible, inform your neighbors of your situation and tell them to call the police if they hear any suspicious noises coming from your home.
- Teach your children to dial 911 in an emergency.
- Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them if another domestic violence incident should occur—a room with a strong lock or a neighbor’s house where they can go for help. Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not protect you.
- If you can, try to document your abuse. Take photos of injuries, get copies of medical records, and keep a journal of each incident of abuse whether verbal, emotional, or physical. Leave photographs and negatives outside of your home in a safe place away from your abuser.
- Have an easily accessible place to keep car keys, purse/wallet and any other essential items that you or your children would need if you had to leave in a hurry. Keep these items in a safe place or with a trusted friend in case you need to leave suddenly. Other important documents to try and bring with you or have copies made before you leave include:
o Green card and/or work permit
o Social security cards or numbers
o Birth certificates
o Marriage certificates
o Children’s immunization records
o Driver’s license
o Any court documents
o Bank account information
o Police and medical reports
o Family photographs
o Necessary medications
o Telephone address book
- If you can, try to save small amounts of money. You may need it in the future for a taxi, food, or a phone call.
- In an emergency escape, you must take your children with you, if at all possible. Leaving the children with the batterer can make it more difficult to later regain custody of them.
- Use your judgment and intuition. If the situation is very serious, give your partner what he wants to calm him down. If you foresee an outbreak of violence, try to move away from weapons and to a low risk place and there is an exit to the outside. Try to avoid bathrooms, kitchens and the garage if there is no safe exit.
- Call our toll-free hotline at 1-877-281-8371 or the local hotline at 512-651-3743 to talk to an advocate about other ways to keep yourself safe. We are here to listen and support you through whatever choices you decide are best for you and your children.
Safety when you or your abusive partner has left the home:
- Inform neighbors, close friends, co-workers and relatives that you are about to/have separated from your partner and ask if they will notify you if they see him around your home, workplace or car.
- As much as possible, try to change your daily routine, for example your route to and from work, the times and places you do your grocery shopping or your laundry, the times you pick up your children for day care, the day and time you have regular appointments.
- If your abusive partner has left the home and you choose to stay, change the locks, secure doors and windows.
- Inform your employer, supervisor and/or security at your workplace that you are or about to separate from your partner and you do not want to receive any phone calls from him, nor want him to be allowed into your workplace.
Remember, you cannot stop your partner's abuse, but you can find help and support for yourself. No one deserves to be abused.
Emergency domestic violence shelters provide a safe, supportive environment for victims of abuse. Domestic violence shelters are designed to help victims and their families survive the immediate crisis caused by leaving the abuser, while helping them rebuild violence free lives.