PREPARE A SAFE ROOM IN YOUR HOUSE:
Install inside locks on a door
Choose a room with a window
Arrange a signal for help with a neighbor
FIND A SAFE SHELTER AND KNOW HOW TO GET TO IT:
Call the closest shelter
Arrange to stay with friends or family
Decide whether or not you will take your children with you when you leave
START TALKING TO PEOPLE:
Call the shelter for support
Talk to a lawyer to learn your rights
Make a trustworthy friend
Talk to substance abuse people (substance abuse agency, AA, Al-Anon)
DOCUMENT THE ABUSE:
Keep a journal (make sure it is hidden)
Make copies of your hospital bills
Show injuries to a friend
Make copies of canceled checks for liquor
Make copies of bills for damage to property
Get photos taken of damage to yourself and/or to property
Get medical attention and have it in your medical records
PAPERS YOU SHOULD COPY:
Rent receipts or mortgage payments
Social Services papers
Social Security numbers for you and the kids
Receipts for property you have paid for
Car title and registration
IDENTIFICATION YOU SHOULD HAVE:
Social Security cards
Start hiding cash for yourself
Open your own bank account
Save pay stubs
safety deposit box keys
post office box keys
PACK A SUITCASE AND HIDE IT:
In a car, under a bed, at a neighbors, at a church, in a public locker, in the garage
WHAT TO PACK:
Shoes, socks, underwear, nightwear, change of clothes, diapers, toothbrush, combs, soap, etc.
PACK YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSIONS
(your abuser knows what to destroy to hurt you):
Wedding pictures, jewelry, love letters, children’s favorite toys, children’s pictures, other valued possessions
OTHER THINGS TO DO
* Pack an address book with your most important addresses and phone numbers.
* If you have long hair, get it cut so that it cannot be grabbed.
* Hide everything in the house that could be used as a weapon against you.
* If you find that you must leave, try to leave while your abuser is away from the home or ask the police to help
you get out- don’t worry about being fair or giving him the benefit of the doubt- PROTECT YOURSELF
SAFETY DURING AN EXPLOSIVE EVENT
* GO TO AN AREA THAT HAS AN EXIT
* Not a bathroom (near hard surfaces), kitchen (near knives), or near weapons.
* STAY IN A ROOM WITH A PHONE
* Call 911, a friend or a neighbor, if possible. Inform them if there are weapons in the home.
* PROTECT YOURSELF Keep as much distance between yourself and your abuser.
* KNOW YOUR ESCAPE ROUTES Practice how to get out of your home safely prior to an incident. Visualize your
escape route. When an incident occurs use your escape route.
* DEVISE A CODE WORD OR SIGNAL Tell your children, grandchildren or neighbors so you can communicate to
them that you need the police or that it is time to leave.
* TRUST YOUR JUDGEMENT Consider anything that you feel will keep you safe and give you time to figure out
what to do next. Sometimes it is best to flee and sometimes it is best to placate the abuser- anything that
works to protect yourself and the children.
If you cannot take your children with you, DO NOT assume you will lose custody because of abandonment. Leaving
because of abuse is legitimate. It is important to contact an attorney about your parental rights as soon as
possible. If you fear your children are in danger, contact Social Services or the police.
SAFETY IN YOUR HOME
(If your abuser does not live with you)
* UPGRADE YOUR SECURITY SYSTEM Change the locks on doors and windows as soon as possible. Consider a
security service, window bars, better lighting, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
* HAVE A SAFETY PLAN Teach your children or grandchildren how to call the police or someone they can trust.
Have a secret code word that you and your children agree on- to communicate trouble and for the people who
are allowed to pick the children up.
* CHANGE YOUR PHONE NUMBER Screen your calls if you have an answering machine or caller ID. Save all
messages with threats or that violate any orders.
* TALK TO NEIGHBORS AND LANDLORD Inform them that your abuser no longer lives with you and that they
should call police if they see the abuser near your home.
* GET LEGAL ADVICE Find a lawyer knowledgeable about domestic violence to explore custody, visitation and
divorce provisions that protect you and the children. Discuss getting a restraining order as an option.
SAFETY AND YOUR CHILDREN
* TELL SCHOOLS AND CHILDCARE Let them know who has permission to pick up the children and give them
your code word. Discuss with them other special provisions to protect you and your children. Provide a picture
of the abuser if possible.
* EXCHANGE CHILDREN IN A SAFE PLACE Find a safe place to exchange the children for visitation.
Alliance Against Family Violence