Have a safe plan of action to help keep you and your children as safe as possible. Before your partner becomes abusive, think about these things:
- Keep SAFE’s 24-hr. hotline number handy, 800-825-8876 or the statewide hotline number, (800) 838-8238 in case there is an emergency and you need to be met at the police station, hospital or another safe location. Or you may need emergency shelter, legal options or just want to talk.
- Make a plan of what to do and where to go if you are in danger. Tell your children of your plan if they are old enough to follow directions and if they can be trusted not to inform the abuser. Teach your children how and when to call 911.
- If you have access to transportation, make sure it is in good repair and has gas.
- Keep an extra set of keys to your home and vehicle in an accessible hiding place outside your home. If you are staying at home and the abuser may have copies of the house keys, get your locks changed.
- Keep money hidden to help you get away. Save money from the grocery store or however you can if you don’t have other sources of income. If possible, keep the money in a bank account in your name only, and keep the bankbook where the abuser won’t find it.
- Keep copies of all legal and financial papers so that you have a separate record of all social security cards, birth certificates, I.D., health and auto insurance, registration and titles, individual and joint checking and savings account numbers, passports, deeds, leases, immunization records, mortgage papers and your marriage certificate in a safe hiding place at work or with friends or family.
- Pack clothing for each child and yourself. Keep the bag in a safe hiding place in your car, at work, or with a neighbor or friend. Don’t forget diapers, favorite toys, baby bottles and nonperishable canned formula. Also, pack refill information for any prescription medicines.
- Be aware of any weapons in the house. Be aware of the safe rooms in the house (rooms with soft furniture, several exit doors, - not the kitchen, bathroom, or garage)
- Is there a neighbor you can tell about the violence and that you may need them to call the police? If so, maybe create a signal such as lights blinking on and off, etc. Have a back-up plan of how to signal and where to go in case your first plan doesn’t work.
- If you leave, the most important thing is to make sure you and your children are safe. Do not leave your children. If you must leave them for a short time, go back as soon as possible. If you are afraid, ask for a police escort. If your children are in school, pick them up from school and go.
There is no excuse for domestic violence…It is not your fault!