Safety Planning – Steps You Need to Take
If you are still in the relationship:
- Think of a safe place to go if an argument occurs - avoid rooms with no exits (bathroom), or rooms with potential weapons (kitchen).
- Think about and make a list of safe people to contact.
- Keep small change with you at all times (for phone, bus, etc.).
- Memorize all important numbers (SSN, phone numbers, etc.).
- Establish a "code word" or "sign" and share with family, friends, teachers or co-workers so they know when to call for help.
- Think about what you will say to your partner if he or she becomes violent.
- Pack a "Go Bag" with essential items, medications, and important papers in case you need to leave in a hurry.
If you have left the relationship:
- Change your phone number.
- Screen calls (get caller ID or let your machine pick up and listen before answering).
- Save and document all contacts, messages, injuries or other incidents involving the abuser. Make a copy of this and put it in a safe place or with a safe friend.
- Change locks, if the abuser has a key.
- Avoid staying alone.
- Plan in advance how you can get away if confronted by an abusive partner.
- If you have to meet your abuser, do it in a public place, like a shopping mall, coffee shop, or restaurant.
- Vary your daily routine if possible.
- Notify your school and work contacts about your situation.
- Contact a local shelter for battered women (Tap Into Hope).
- Open up a checking and savings account in only your name. Do not continue to use your joint account.
Important Papers to Gather
If you leave the relationship or are thinking of leaving, you should take important papers and documents with you. This will help you apply for benefits or take legal action.
- Social security cards.
- Birth certificates for you and your children.
- Your marriage license (or domestic partnership papers).
- Leases or deeds in your name or both yours and your partner's names.
- Checkbook, charge cards, statements and charge account statements.
- Insurance policies.
- Proof of income for you and your spouse (pay stubs or W-2's).
- Any documentation of past incidents of abuse (photos, police reports, medical records, etc.).
- If you have been issued a protective order, consider applying for the Hope Card Program (protective order reference card).