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How to stay safe
HOW TO KEEP SAFE
Your safety is the most important thing. Listed below are tips to help keep you safe. IN AN EMERGENCY, DIAL 999
If you are in an abusive relationship, think about:
- Having important phone numbers nearby for you and your children. Numbers to have are the police, helplines and friends. If the abuser usually smashes your phone, keep one in a secret place and ensure it is kept charged up in case you need to call police in an emergency.
- 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 help, i.e. for them to dial 999.
- How to get out of your home safely. Practice ways to get out.
- 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 safer places. Avoid arguing at the top of the stairs.
- Any weapons in the house. Think about ways that you could get them out of the house.
- Even if you do not plan to leave, think of where you could go. Think of how you might leave. Try doing things that get you out of the house – taking out the rubbish, walking the pet or going to the store. Put together a bag of things you use everyday (see the checklist below). Hide it where it is easy for you to get.
- Be careful if you are searching for advice online, delete your history on your computer if the abuser has access to it.
- Be aware that the abuser may read your messages/emails/mail. Hide or delete and information about leaving.
- Go over your safety plan often to keep it clear in your mind.
If you consider leaving your abuser, think about:
- Four places you could go if you leave your home. Or contact Womens Aid 24 Hour Helpline on 08082000247.
- People who might help you if you left. Think about people who will keep a bag for you. Think about people who might lend you money. Make plans for your pets.
- Keeping change for phone calls or getting a mobile phone.
- Opening a bank account or getting a credit card in your name.
- How you might leave. Try doing things that get you out of the house – taking out the bins, walking the family pet, or going to the store. Practice how you would leave.
- How you could take your children with you safely. There are times when taking your children with you may put all of your lives in danger. You need to protect yourself to be able to protect your children.
- Putting together a bag of things you use everyday. Hide it where it is easy for you to get.
ITEMS TO TAKE, IF POSSIBLE:
Keys to car, house, work
Important papers for you and your children
Social security cards
School and medical records
Bankbooks, credit cards
Passports, work permits
Mortgage payment book, unpaid bills
Injunctions, divorce papers, custody orders
Pictures, Jewellery, things that mean a lot to you
Items for your children (toys, blankets, etc.)
WARNING: Abusers try to control their victim’s lives. When abusers feel a loss of control – like when victims try to leave them – the abuse often gets worse. Take special care when you leave. Keep being careful even after you have left.
If you have left your abuser, think about…
- Your safety – you still need to.
- Getting a mobile phone.
- Getting an injunction from family court via your solicitor. Keep a copy with you all the time. Give a copy to the police, people who take care of your children, their schools and your boss.
- Changing the locks. Consider putting in stronger doors, smoke detectors, a security system and outside lights. Speak to your landlord if you have one or your local community safety team.
- Telling friends and neighbours that your abuser no longer lives with you. Ask them to call the police if they see your abuser near your home or children.
- Telling people who take care of your children the names of people who are allowed to pick them up. If you have an injunction protecting your children, give their teachers and babysitters a copy of it.
- Telling someone at work about what has happened. Ask that person to screen your calls. If you have an injunction that includes where you work, consider giving your boss a copy of it and a picture of the abuser. Think about and practice a safety plan for your workplace. This should include going to and from work.
- Not using the same shops or businesses that you did when you were with your abuser.
- Someone that you can call if you feel down. Call that person if you are thinking about going to a support group or workshop.
- If you have moved to a new address, ensure you inform your bank, mobile phone provider. Be aware your abuser could trace you via opening your post at your old address.
- If your abuser continues to stalk or harass you consider reporting this to the police. Keep any abusive messages/letters. If the abuser is breaching an injunction, inform the police immediately.