Providing the HOPE to survive today, tomorrow and beyond

Check out some of the other ways in which you can view our blog: Dynamic Views Use the drop menu near the upper left to switch views click the blog title to come back to this view.

May 21, 2012

What is a Safety Plan?

You may be at the point in your abusive relationship where you feel it is better that you leave, please do so safely.  Leaving your abusive situation does not mean that you have failed nor are you destroying your family.  Many times as Victims we feel ashamed that our marriage isn't working, that maybe we haven't tried to work things out enough, or that we aren't giving our partner a "Second Chance", or third, or fourth.  It hurts, it's scary, but it can be done safely...............

If you are in a violent relationship, the most important thing you can do is insure the safety of yourself and your children in all aspects of life.  Please read the following, and know that there is help out there.  Please do your best in hiding any evidence that you are planning to leave from your abuser, and try not to change your attitude towards him during this time.  During this time women are in a 75% greater risk of being harmed, because the abuser knows that he is loosing control.

The below list may seem daunting, print it out and check off the items that you have been been able to accomplish.  Put the print out in a place where your abuser will not look, such as your box of tampons or pads, add a pen as well.  In this way, you can be in a safe place your abuser will not bother you in so that you can safely check over the list and update it as needed.  Pleas check over the butterflies!  You are well on your way to becoming a Survivor!!!

The Personal Safety Plan

Personal Safety Plan when dealing with your Abuser:

*Identify your partner's use and level of force so that you can assess danger to you and your children before it occurs.

*Try to avoid an abusive situation by leaving the room or the house

*Identify safe areas of the house where there are no weapons and where there are always ways to escape.  If arguments occur, try to move to those areas.  Try not to become entrapped in a room or a corner that you cannot move out of easily.  If needed, while the abuse just starts, slowly move to an area where you know you have a better chance of escaping.

*Don't run to where the children are as your partner may hurt them as well.

*If violence is unavoidable, make yourself a small target; dive into a corner and curl up into a ball with your face protected and arms around each side of your head, fingers entwined.

*If possible, have a phone accessible at all times and know the numbers to call for help.  Know where the nearest pay phone is located.  Know your local battered women's shelter number if possible.  Don't be afraid to call the police!  If you don't have a cell phone for emergency purposes, your local DV Shelter will have one to give you for this purpose.

*Let trusted friends and neighbors know of your situation and develop a plan and visual signal for when you need help. 

*Teach your children how to get help.  Instruct them not to get involved in the violence between you and your abuser.  Plan a code word to signal to them that they should get help or leave the house.

*Tell your children that violence is never right, even when someone they love is being violent.  Tell them that neither you nor they are at fault or cause the violence, and that when anyone is being violent, it is important to keep safe.

*Practice how to get out safely.  Practice with your children, call it a fire drill if you think that is best.

*Plan for what you will do if your children tell your partner of your plan or if your partner otherwise finds out about your plan.

*Keep weapons such as guns and knives locked up and as inaccessible as possible.

*Make a habit of backing the car into the driveway and keeping it fueled.  Keep the driver's door unlocked and others locked- for a quick escape.

*Try not to wear scarves or long jewelry that could be used to strangle you.  If you must wear either, take them with you in a bag and put them on once you have left your abuser.

*Create several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times of the day or night.  Call a domestic violence hotline periodically to assess your options and get a supportive and understanding ear.

If you are staying with your batterer, think about:

*What works best to keep you safe in an emergency.

*Who you can call in a crisis.

*If you would call the police if the violence starts again. Can you work out a signal with the children or the neighbors to call the police when you need help?

*If you need to flee temporarily, where would you go? Think though several places where you can go in a crisis. Write down the addresses and phone numbers, and keep them with you.

*If you need to flee your home, know the escape routes in advance.

*Get support!!!  You don't have to do it alone!  There are many out there to support you, and many Survivors willing to help you through this time!

Getting ready to leave:

*Keep any evidence of physical abuse, such as pictures, etc.

*Know where you can go to get help; tell someone you trust what is happening to you.

*If you are injured, go to a doctor or an emergency room and report what happened to you.  Ask that they document your visit.

*Plan with your children and identify a safe place for them (for example, a room with a lock or a friend's house where they can go for help).  Reassure them that their job is to stay safe, not to protect you. (do this with children that are old enough to understand and not tell your abuser)

*Contact your local battered women's shelter and find out about laws and other resources available to you before you have to use them during a crisis. 

*Keep a journal of all violent incidences, noting dates, events and threats made if possible.  Keep this in a safe place!  If possible, use a free on-line e-mail server such as Yahoo or G-mail, and each day send your journal to yourself.  Make sure that you use a false name and place of residence, and that you don't ever leave the e-mail service open when your abuser is around.  In this way, you can access this information after you leave, and use this information in court with dates and times of the journal entries in tact.

*Acquire job skills as you can, such as learning to type or taking courses at a community college on-line if necessary.

*Try to set money aside or ask friends or family members to hold money for you.

In case you have to flee:

Have the following available ( please understand that many of these items you can get after you leave, don't stay longer then is safe.  If possible, start taking many of these items to a trusted friends or family members house ahead of time with some clothing.  Try to avoid next-door neighbors, close family members and mutual friends as the abuser may go to these places first looking for you, and may be told of your plans.)

*Important papers such as birth certificates, social security cards, insurance information, school and health records, welfare and immigration documents, and marriage, divorce or other court documents or case numbers.

*Citizenship documents (such as your passport, green card, etc.)

*Titles, deeds, and other property information

*Credit cards, bank account numbers, and ATM cards.

*Insurance Information and cards

*Valued pictures, jewelry, or personal possessions if possible.

*Whatever cash you were able to put aside

*An extra set of house and car keys

*Medications and prescriptions

*Phone numbers and addresses for family, friends, doctors, lawyers, and community agencies that may be needed.

*Clothing and comfort items for you and the children.

If you had the perpetrator evicted or are living alone, you may want to:

*Change the locks on doors and windows.

*Consider renting a post office box or using the address of a friend for your mail.

*Contact your local DV Shelter and ask to be put on the ACP Program (Address Confidentiality Program).  The state that participate in this are: California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois (Pending available administer program), Indiana, Kansas (legislation being proposed), Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon (in process of establishing program), Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington State.
*Be aware that addresses are on restraining orders and police reports.

*Install a better security system - window bars, locks, better lighting, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

*Install cameras that are motion detective pointed to the areas where your abuser would most likely try to enter the residence or cause damage.  In this way, you can then prove that it is your abuser who is doing such things and either be able to then get a Restraining Order or violate them on it if one is already in place.

*Install a lighting system that lights up when a person is coming close to the house (motion sensitive lighting).

*Insure that your car is always locked and that all personal items are removed every night.  Leave the car in an area where you can easily get to it in case of emergency.

*Lock any and all possessions that may be in a garage or shed outside.

*Teach the children to call the police, family or friends if they are snatched.

*Change work hours and route taken to work.

*Change grocery stores, laundry mats, convenience stores, anywhere your abuser would know you would go to.

*Talk to the schools and childcare providers about who has permission to pick up the children.  Make sure to give them a copy of any RO's or PFA's, insure that all that help take care of your child/children know who is and who is not allowed to have contact with your children while in their care.

*Change the route taken to transport the children to school.

*Find a lawyer knowledgeable about family violence to explore custody, visitation and divorce that protect you and your children.  Check into the lawyers before you pay for them!  Insure that they will do the best for you and your children, ask others about them and see what their feelings are about them.  Research them if possible.

*Obtain a Restraining Order as soon as possible after you leave!  Insure that the children are also placed on this, and make sure that you bring any evidence that you have as to the seriousness of the situation.  If possible, find out where your local DV Advocate is, go through your local DV Shelter for help, and make sure that you stay safe!

*Keep a certified copy of your restraining order with you at all times.

*Inform friends, neighbors and employers that you have a restraining order in effect.

*Give copies of restraining order to employers, neighbors, and schools along with a picture of the offender.

*Request neighbors to call the police if they feel you may be in danger.

*Call law enforcement to enforce the order, insure that you can have evidence or witnesses whenever possible.

*At work, ask that your calls are screened if possible.  If an RO is in affect, this would be in violation to the RO and whomever answered would be a witness.

*Replace wooden doors (mostly those with windows) with steel or metal doors.

*Call the telephone company to request caller ID.  Ask that your phone be blocked so that if you call, neither your partner nor anyone else will be able to get your new, unlisted number.  (this does not mean that you may break the RO and call your abuser)

If you are leaving your abuser, ask yourself the following questions:

How and when can you most safely leave? Where will you go?

*Are you comfortable calling the police if you need them?  ( You may request a police officer to stand-by or be an escort while you leave)

*Who can you trust to tell that you are leaving?

*Are you prepared to sneak away if needed?

*Do you have a plan as to how and where you will escape to?

*Did you put aside emergency money?

*Did you hide an extra set of car and house keys?

*How will you travel safely to and from work or school or to pick up children?

*What community and legal resources will help you feel safer? Write down their addresses and phone numbers, and keep them handy.

*Do you know the number of the local shelter?

*What custody and visitation provisions will keep you and your children safe?

*Is a restraining order a viable option?

Please now that on average a DV Victim will leave their abuser about 7 times before staying away.  Abusers have many ways to lure in the Victim, and there are many valid reasons to go back.  It is hard to stay away, hard to make it on your own (mostly if there are children involved), but it can be done!

Please, set up counseling if possible when you do leave, and get as much support as you can get, even for years after the abuse.  Give yourself time to heal, give yourself a little patience, and know that you can only do your best.

If you are in a violent relationship and need help, call 1-800-799-SAFE.

To help stop domestic violence in your community, call 1-800-END-ABUSE.

The Workplace Safety Plan

At work, you may want to:

*Save any threatening emails or voicemail messages. You can use these to take legal action in the future, if you choose to. If you already have a restraining order, the messages can serve as evidence in court that the order was violated.

*Park close to the entrance of your building, and talk with security, the police, or a manager if you fear an assault at work.

*Have your calls screened, transfer harassing calls to security, or remove your name and number from automated phone directories.

*Relocate your workspace to a more secure area.

*Obtain a restraining order and make sure that it is current and on hand at all times. Include the workplace on the order. A copy should be provided to the police, the employee's supervisor, Human Resources, the reception area, the Legal department, and Security.

*Provide a picture of the perpetrator to reception areas and/or Security.

*Identify an emergency contact person should the employer be unable to contact you.

*Ask Security to escort you to and from your car or public transportation.

*Look into alternate hours or work locations.

Review the safety of your childcare arrangements, whether it is on-site childcare at the company or off-site elsewhere. If you have a restraining order, it can usually be extended to the childcare center.

Compiled from various resources..........

No comments:

Post a Comment