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Domestic Violence • Safety & Protection

Safety Planning for Victims of Domestic Violence



Learn to identify clues as to when violence may occur, for example: body language, alcohol/drug use, pay day,
holidays, etc.

Know an escape route from the home and practice it. Be sure to have a regular reason for leaving the home each day such as walking the dog or taking out the trash.

Set up a signal or code word with children, neighbors, and friends. Teach children how to call 911 and tell them it is okay to do so if they feel you are in danger.

Think about what you have done in the past to keep yourself safe. What has worked, what hasn't?

Know your resources. Where can you go for help, who can help you?

Get a cell phone, carry it or hide it somewhere you think you can get to. Do not let the abuser know you have the phone.

Don't take chances. Don't assume you can work it out.
Call 911.



:

Follow the same steps recommended for Victims Who Decide to Stay.

Start hiding money or open a secret bank account. Tell him you spent more money on an item than you really did, i.e. say you spent $75 on groceries when you really spent $50.

Get a post office box.

Let people you trust know your plan and allow them to help you.

Gather important documents that you will need and may not be able to go back for such as birth certificates, social security cards, car titles, insurance information, account numbers, etc.

Thoroughly think out your plan to leave, what does it entail? What are you waiting for, what factors affect your decision to leave?

Cover your tracks, make sure that phone, gas, credit card companies, your employer, your doctor, your friends don't give out any information on you.

Consider what you will do if you must leave before your planned leave date.

Make sure you have your legal situation under control. Know your options (protective order, etc.) Also, know what you can and can't do legally: Can you take the car, take the children out of state? Consider what may happen if you leave your children with the abuser.

Think about transferring children to another school so the abuser cannot find them.

Make sure you have a safe place to go, somewhere the abuser will not know about or think to look, i.e. a shelter, a hidden apartment, a relative he (she) does not know. Make sure you choose a place where someone will be supportive.

Consider what you will do with your pets. Can you take them with you; does your local shelter have safe cages for animals in domestic violence households?

Learn to see your life first and your possessions second. :

Follow
the plans for Victims Who are Staying and for those Planning to Leave.

Use the legal system.

Understand that the legal system cannot guarantee your safety, you must plan for and contribute to your own protection.

Be sure your plan includes your daily activities, what happens when you go to work or church, what happens when the kids go to school?

Listen to your feelings. Your instinct is your greatest tool. If something feels unsafe, it probably is.

If possible, alert your employer to your situation. If you have a protective order, provide the security at your job with a copy.

If you should agree to meet with your partner, be sure it is in a public place and try to bring someone else with you. Make sure the abuser does not follow you home.

If your partner is following you in a car, drive to a police station or a well-populated area such as a store and keep honking your horn to draw attention.

Keep a journal of harassing phone calls, "chance meetings" outside of work, school, or on the street, and anything that happens between the abuser and you or your children. Save all phone messages and letters. Have the Phone Company monitor the number of calls you receive from his/her number.

Follow any court orders. Report violations to the police
or judge.

Concentrate on staying safe; do not let your
guard down.

If you had to leave without your children or pets, do not go back for them alone, go with the police or pick them up somewhere where the abuser isn't present.




A Guide for Parents


Help your teen become aware of the issues involved in teen dating violence. Encourage her/him to evaluate the safety of various situations. Help teens develop self-awareness by encouraging them to think, act, and make decisions for themselves.


Assertiveness is the ability to exercise one's own rights while respecting the rights of others. It means communicating exactly what you want and don't want, standing up for yourself, and stating your opinion, thoughts and feelings without abusing others. Help your teen learn the difference between passive, assertive, and aggressive behavior.


Productive confrontation involves honest communication, willingness to listen to others, compromise and problem-solving. When parents provide models of effective interpersonal interactions, they are teaching violence prevention skills.


The media inundates us with images of unhealthy, frequently abusive intimate relationships - help your teen decipher what she/he sees and hears in the media. Teach them that no one deserves to be emotionally, verbally or physically abused and that violence is never justified.


In addition to feelings of love, emphasize the following characteristics of healthy relationships:

Both partners give and take, each getting their way some of the time.

Both partners respect each other and value one another's opinions.

Both partners support and encourage each other's goals and ambitions.

Both partners trust one another and learn not to inflict jealous and restrictive feeling on the other should they arise.

Both partners communicate openly and honestly.

Both partners share responsibilities in decision-making.

Both partners accept the differences between them.

Both partners encourage each other to have friends and activities outside the relationship.

Neither is afraid of the other.

Adapted from What Parents Need to Know About Dating Violence by Barrie Levy and Patricia O. Giggians, June 1995,
Seal Pr Feminist Pub.
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