Here are some safety tips you need to know about if you are in an abusive relationship.
- During an argument, or if you feel tension building, avoid areas in your home where weapons might be available, such as the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom or workshops.
- If there are weapons in your household such as firearms, lock them up!
- Know where there is a safe exit from your home like a window, elevator or stairwell.
- Discuss the situation with a trusted neighbor. Ask your neighbor to call 911 when they hear a disturbance—this could save your life.
- Find a code word to use with them if you need the police dispatched to your home.
- Always keep a packed bag ready to go so that you can leave immediately.
- Have a safe place to go planned out in advance—even if you don’t really think you will need to go there.
Remember that no one deserves to be abused. It is not your fault no matter what the abuser has been telling you!
Here are some steps to take if you are planning to leave a violent situation:
- Open a bank account in your own name.
- Give an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, extra clothes and some money to a trusted friend or neighbor in case you have to leave quickly.
- Think about who the best contacts are if you need to find shelter or money.
- Have a cell phone on hand to make emergency calls—and contact Mutual Ground if you need a 911 emergency cell phone—we provide them free of charge.
- Remember that your safety and that of your children must always come first.
Things to take with you.
___ Birth certificates for you and your children
___ Driver’s license and military ID
___ Social Security cards
___ Insurance documents
___ Money/credit cards
___ Checkbooks, bank books
___ Savings bonds
___ Link card
___ Copy of your Order of Protection
___ Car registration/insurance papers
___ Copy of lease/deed to your home
___ Medical and school records
___ Separation/custody papers
___ Power of attorney/will
Other important items:
___ Medications, prescriptions
___ Keys to home and vehicles
___ Address book/telephone cards
Once you have defused the violent situation, follow these steps to stay safe:
- Keep your Order of Protection with you at all times.
- Give photocopies of your Order of Protection to your children’s school, your employer, your neighbors, as well as your local police department.
- Change the locks on your doors.
- Discuss safety plans with your children.
- Inform your children’s school about who has permission to pick them up.
- Ask your neighbors to call the police if they see your abuser nearby. Show them a photo of your abuser and tell them about your Order of Protection.
- Ask someone to screen your telephone calls at home and at work.
- Take a different route to work and school. Park in a different spot or borrow someone else’s car.
- Have someone escort you to your car or walk with other people, if possible.
- If communication is necessary between you and your partner, meet in public places or have a third party make contact and relay messages.
- Talk with us or other people who can provide support on domestic violence issues.
Mutual Ground provides free services for victims of domestic abuse and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call.