Staying Safe

Your safety is the most important thing. There is information below about things to think about and plans to make. Not all of the suggestions will be right for everybody, but you may think of things that you are able to do.

IN AN EMERGENCY, DIAL 999.

If you are in an abusive relationship think about:

  • Making a safety plan so you know what to do in an emergency
  • Keeping important phone numbers such as the police, helplines and friends on your phone. Store them under false names if you need to.
  • Friends or neighbours you could tell about the abuse. Ask them to call the police if they hear angry or violent noises. If you have children, teach them how to dial 999. Make up a code word that you can use when you need them to call for help
  • Think of ways to get out of your home safely, and practise using them.
  • Think of safer places in your home where there are exits and no weapons. If you feel abuse is going to happen, try to get your abuser to one of these places. Try to avoid arguing in the kitchen or at the top of the stairs
  • Even if you’re not planning to leave now, think about where you could go if you need to. Think of how you might leave and what you might need to take with you
  • Put together a bag of things you use every day (see checklist below.) Hide it where it is easy for you to get to it
  • Be careful if you are searching for advice on line. Delete your search history if your abuser has access to it
  • Be aware your abuser may read you text messages, email or social media. Hide or delete any information about leaving
  • Go over your safety plan often and keep it clear in your mind

Think about

If you consider leaving your abuser, think about:

  • Places you could go to if you leave your home
  • People who could help you if you leave. Could they keep a bag for you? Lend you money? Take care of your pets?
  • Getting a mobile phone
  • Opening a bank account or getting a credit card in your name, if it would be safe to do so
  • How you might leave. Try doing things that get you out of the house – taking out the rubbish, walking the dog, going to the shop and so on. Think about the opportunities you might have and practise what you would do.
  • How you would take your children with you safely

Checklist

items to take if possible:

  • Money
  • Keys to car, house, work
  • Extra clothes
  • Medicine
  • Important papers for you and your children, such as
    • Birth certificates
    • National insurance numbers
    • School and medical records
    • Bank details and credit cards
    • Benefits details
    • Driver’s licence
    • Car registration
    • Passport, work permit
    • Rent or mortgage information
    • Unpaid bills
    • Injunctions, divorce papers, custody orders
  • Photos, jewellery, things that mean a lot to you
  • Items for your children, such as toys, blankets and so on

Warning:

Abusers try to control their victims’ lives. When they feel a loss of control – like when you try to leave – the abuse can get worse. If you need to leave immediately then do so. In an emergency, phone 999.

Safety

After you have left, you still need to think about your safety.

You might need to think about:

  • Making a safety plan and practising it so you would know what to do in an emergency
  • Changing your phone number or getting a new phone
  • Deleting social media accounts
  • Getting legal advice, and applying for any injunctions or other court orders you need
  • Changing the locks or adding extra security such as window locks and smoke detectors. Some areas have schemes that can help with this
  • Who needs to know about the abuser and be able to take action if they see them? This could be your work, your children’s school or child minder, friends and neighbours and so on
  • Telling someone at work what has happened. Ask for your calls to be screened. Make sure your colleagues know what to do if your abuser comes to your place of work
  • Do you need to give them a photo of the abuser, or copies of any injunctions you have? Ask them to call the police if they need to
  • Think about the shops, libraries and other services you use. Think about the routes you take regularly, including to and from work. Do you need to change any of these things?
  • If you have moved to a new address, do you need to get post redirected? Tell your bank, phone company, and so on. Be aware your abuser could find out where you are living by opening post at your old address
  • Think about how you will get support. Do you have friends that you can phone? Are there community groups and other services you could use? Do you need to speak to your doctor about counselling?
  • If your abuser continues to stalk or harass you, consider reporting this to the police. Keep any abusive messages/letters. If the abuser breaches an injunction, inform the police immediately
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