How to improve your safety
Be safe in your own home.
If you are suffering from domestic violence and abuse, we recommend that you consider making a safety plan. This will help you to prepare in advance for times when you may be in danger or are being physically or verbally abused. Devising a safety plan will allow you to think about how you can improve your safety and that of your children if further violence or abuse occurs. It won’t guarantee your safety but could help improve it.
Whether you have chosen to stay in the relationship, are planning to leave or if the relationship is over there are things you can do to make yourself safer
How to improve your safety and that of your children.
If you are staying in the relationship:
- If you or your children are in danger, call 999 immediately
- Make sure you and your children know or can find important phone numbers
- Teach your children how to dial 999 and to say their name and address
- Tell children what to do if an attack happens or if you make an agreed signal and make sure they know not to try and protect you – their job is to keep themselves safe.
- Find out where the nearest phone box is.
- Always have your mobile charged and with you – you don’t need credit to dial 999
- Tell police about incidents; they can keep records without charging anyone and they can flag your address to respond quickly in an emergency
- If you can, get injuries treated and recorded by medical professionals
- Agree code words to alert friends and family if you call them so they know to ring the police
- Is there somewhere safe you can leave extra clothes, money, keys and important documents?
- Think through which parts of the house are more dangerous if an attack is likely, i.e., kitchen, bathroom, garage and move away from these areas.
If you are planning to leave the relationship:
- Try and leave when your partner (or family member) isn’t there.
- Take children with you, if you can – it may be hard to get them back later
- If it’s safe, try and take everything that you need, as you may not be able to return later
Getting things ready to leave:
If you can, pack a bag (with items listed below – if safe to do so) and hide it somewhere safe or with trusted friends, family, or neighbours. Include.
- Birth Certificates – for you and children
- Money – bank books, cheque books, credit cards, benefits cards, books & letters
- Legal documents – child contact court orders, divorce papers
- Passports – visas, work permits, immigration papers
- National Insurance numbers
- Driving licence – car registration, MOT, and insurance documents
- Housing information – mortgage papers, rental agreements, insurance documents
- Keys – house, car, work, friends, or family’s keys
- Clothing and toiletries – for you and children
- Medicine or medication – for you and children
- Important personal things – photographs, jewellery etc.
- Children’s favourite toys, comforter, or blanket, nappies, milk, bottle
- Important telephone numbers
- Records of abuse – police reports, court orders, copies of medical records, workers contact numbers
When the abusive relationship is over
- Make sure that schools and childcare know who is allowed to pick up the children (consider using passwords)
- Give a photograph of abuser to new schools, nurseries
- If you are working, can you tell someone there and can they screen calls?
- Make sure people around you know to keep you safe (family, friends and neighbours, as well as work and schools)
- Change your routines, your routes to places you can’t avoid and don’t go to places you went together
- Think of who you can call if you’re feeling down and considering returning to the relationship
- Get emotional support from family and friends or domestic abuse services/groups to improve confidence and feel less like returning
- Consider applying for legal protection, non-molestation order or an occupation order. Refer to legal order section
- Changing landline and mobile telephone numbers and go ex-directory
- Changing routes, to and from work and school regularly
- Close down face book and Twitter accounts – these are good tools for the abuser to find out where you are
If you have left the area
- Dial 141 to withhold your number before ringing anyone.
- Check your mobile phone hasn’t been ‘tracked’
- Ask solicitors/courts not to include your new address on any documents
- Explain to children that they shouldn’t tell the abuser (or their family) where you are now
In an emergency always ring 999 – if phoning from a mobile, say your address (where you are). If phoning from a landline and are unable to speak leave the line open so your location can be traced. REMEMBER – You don’t need credit to call 999 from a mobile phone