This is my plan for increasing my safety and preparing in advance for the possibility of further abuse/violence. Although I do not have control over my partner’s violence, I can find ways to reduce risk of harm for myself and my children.
- Police: 911 and (Non-Emergency)
- Domestic Violence Program/Safe Home: .
- District Attorney’s Office .
- Campus resources .
There are a number of things to do to increase safety during violent incidents.
I can do some or all of the following:
- If I decide to leave, I can get out of the house/ dorm by . (Practice how to get out safely. What doors or windows will you use?)
- I can go to .
- In order to be able to leave quickly, I can keep my purse and vehicle key ready by putting them: .
- I can tell , (neighbors) about the violence and ask them to call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from the house/dorm room.
- I can use as my code word with my family/friends when I am in danger, so they will call for help.
- When I expect an argument, I can try to move to , a space near an outside door that has no guns, knives or other weapons (usually bathrooms, garages and kitchen areas are dangerous places).
- I can call the police when it is safe, and I can get a protective order from the court.
Leaving must be done with a careful plan to increase safety. Perpetrators often strike back when they believe their partner is leaving the relationship.
I can do some or all of the following:
- So I can leave quickly, I can leave money, an extra set of keys, extra clothing and important documents with .
- I can open a savings account to increase my independence by .
- I can check with and to see who would be able to let me stay with them or lend me some money.
- The National Domestic Violence hotline number is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). By calling this free hotline, I can get the number of a shelter near me. If there is a Sexual Assault/Relationship Abuse Office on campus, I can call them to assist with safe housing relocation.
- I can rehearse my escape plan.
- I can plan to break up in a public place and will stay with after.
- Address book
- Credit cards
- Social Security Cards
- Keys (house/car/work)
- Welfare identification
- Driver’s license/vehicle registration
- Birth and marriage certificates
- Checkbook, ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) card, and other bank books
- Work permit
- School and vaccination records
- Divorce papers
- Copy of protective order
- Pets (if you can). Call your local animal shelter to ask about temporary animal housing.
- Photo Album
There are many things that a survivor can do to increase safety in the home. It may be impossible to do everything at once, but safety measures can be added step by step.
- I can inform that my partner no longer resides with me/is dating me and they should call the police if he is seen at my residence.
- I can change the locks on my doors and windows as soon as possible.
- I can tell my roommate(s) about the situation and .
Protective orders are available from the court. An advocate is available at the nearest domestic violence/sexual assault program to help you get one. Many perpetrators obey protective orders, but some do not. I understand that I may need to ask the police and the courts to enforce my protective order.
I can do some or all of the following to increase my safety:
- I can keep a copy of my protective order with me at all times.
- I can check with my local police department to make sure my protective order is on record with them. If not, I will give a copy of my protective order to them. I will also give a copy of my protective order to police departments in the community where I work and in those communities where I usually visit family or friends.
- I can tell my employer, my domestic violence program advocate, my closest friend, and that I have a protective order in effect.
- If my partner destroys my protective order, I can get another copy from the court house by calling .
- If my partner violates the protective order, I can call the police and report a violation, call my attorney, call an advocate at a domestic violence program and/or advise the court of the violation.
Survivors must decide for themselves if and when to tell others about the violence. Friends, family and co-workers can help to protect me, and I need to consider carefully who to ask for help.
I can do any or all of the following:
- I can tell my boss, the security supervisor and at work of my situation.
- I can ask to help screen my telephone calls at work.
- When I leave work, I can walk with to my car or bike. I can park my car where I will feel safest getting in and out of the car.
- When traveling home if problems occur, I can .
- I can use different grocery stores, shopping malls and banks to shop and do business at hours that are different from those I used when residing with my abusive partner.
- I can also .
Here are some steps I can take to protect myself on campus:
- I can tell my Resident Assistant, Peer Health Educator, or another residential staff person about my situation.
- I can ride/walk with to and from class. I can ride/walk with to and from activities.
- If my partner has any classes with me, I can talk to (my professor or TA) and tell them about my situation.
- I can talk to my Resident Fellow, Resident Dean or Academic Advisor about changing classes or sections, or arranging extensions, incompletes or withdrawals. The name and contact information of someone I can talk to is .
Partners sometimes use technology as a means of controlling or monitoring their partner.
Here are some steps I can take to protect myself:
- I will set up a new, private e-mail address. This e-mail address will not contain my name or birth date, or other words that would identify me.
- I will regularly delete received and sent e-mails, and clean out the Deleted Items folder or purge my deleted e-mails in my e-mail account.
- I will try to use a private computer or one that my partner does not have access to, like one at a public library, community center, or Internet café. A nearby public computer is located at .
- If I use a computer my partner does have access to, I will look up how to clear the history of websites I have visited on www.stoprelationshipabuse.org. I will also empty the Recycle or Trash bin on the computer to erase documents.
- I will change the privacy settings on my Facebook account to restrict access to my page.
- I will not store my passwords if my web browser is capable of doing so. I will change my passwords often and use different passwords for different sites. I will use passwords with both letters and numbers so they are harder to guess.
- I can contact the courthouse where I am involved in litigation to request that my online court records be kept confidential. My courthouse’s telephone number is . I will do a Google search of my full name in parentheses and take steps to change any pages that offer private information about me.
- I can set up a new telephone number by calling my telephone company at . I can also call a local hotline to learn about donation programs that provide new cell phones or pre-paid calling cards for victims of abuse or stalking. If there is a baby monitor in the house, I will turn it off when making calls that I do not want overheard.
- I will make sure that my telephone and address are unlisted by calling my telephone company.
- I can set up a private P.O. Box where I can receive mail and request that my mail be sent to this new address. I will have my phone bill be sent to this new address. I will try to keep my residential address out of the national database.
- If I think my partner has set up a Global Positioning System in my car or purse, I will contact the police to see what I can do.
The experience of being abused and verbally degraded by partners is exhausting and emotionally draining. The process of building a new life for myself takes much courage and incredible energy.
To conserve my emotional energy and to avoid hard emotional times, I can do some of the following:
- If I feel despair and ready to return to a potentially abusive situation, I can call before making a decision.
- I can use, “I can” statements with myself.
- I can remind myself daily of my best qualities. They are .
- I can read to help me feel stronger or better.
- I can call , and as other resources to be of support to me.
- I can attend workshops and support groups at the domestic violence program or to gain support and strengthen my relationships with other people.
- Other things I can do to help me feel stronger are: .
- If you feel your life is in immediate danger: Call the police, 911
- Call the National Hotline to talk with a counselor about making a safety plan: 800-799-SAFE
- Avoid going on long trips alone with your partner
- Tell your RA/PHE/roommates about the situation
- Arrange for double dates — if possible try not to be alone with your partner
- Keep your cell phone with you; keep money for transportation on your body
- If the abuser also lives in your residence hall, try to get transferred into another building, switch rooms, etc.
- Try to let friends, roommates and RAs/PHEs know where you are going and when you should be back — check in with them while you’re out
- If your abuser has a copy of your key, change your locks
- Avoid arguments in the kitchen as this is the most dangerous room in the house
- If you plan to break up with your partner, plan for safety, stay somewhere else, do it in a busy place and arrange for transportation
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