The following strategies can be used to create a plan to increase safety and prepare in advance for the possibility of further violence. Although you do not have control over your partner’s violence, you do have a choice about how to respond to him/her and how to best get yourself and your children to safety.
Safety During a Violent Incident
I can try some of these safety strategies to get to safety or to get help quickly:
A. I can keep my purse and car keys ready and put them in a safe space in order to leave quickly.
B. I can inform friends and family members about the violence and request they call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from my house.
C. I can teach my children how to use the telephone to contact the police and the fire department. (Be careful about placing responsibility on children.)
D. I can pick a code word so my friends and children will call for help.
Safety When Preparing to Leave
A battered partner frequently leaves the residence shared with the abuser. Leaving must be done with a careful plan in order to increase safety. Abusers often strike back when they believe that their partner is leaving the relationship. I can use some or all of the following safety strategies:
A. I will keep copies of important documents, such as social security, birth certificates, and shot records, in a safe place.
B. I will open an individual savings account to increase my independence and to establish credit.
When I Leave the Residence
I can follow these safety strategies to increase the safety of my new residence:
A. I can change the locks on my doors and windows as soon as possible.
B. I can install security systems including additional locks, window bars, (not generally recommended due to fire escape hazards) poles to wedge against doors, an electronic system, etc.
C. I can purchase rope ladders (“fire ladders” are available from hardware and discount stores) to be used for escape from second floor windows.
D. I can install an outside lighting system that lights up when a person is coming close to my house (motion detectors).
E. I will tell people who take care of my children which individuals have permission to pick up my children and that my partner is not permitted to do so.
F. I will ask the local Sheriff/Police Department to perform a home safety check and to make recommendations.