Make a personal safety plan, this is a way of helping you protect yourself and your children. It helps you plan in advance for the possibility of future violence and abuse. It prepares you if you decide to leave an abusive relationship.
You cannot stop your partners violence, only they can stop it. But there are things you can do to increase you and your childrens safety. You are probably already doing some things to protect yourself and your children, for example, there may be a pattern to the violence which may enable you to plan ahead to increase your safety.
- Plan in advance how you might respond in different situations, including crisis situations.
- Think about different options available to you.
- Keep with you any important and emergency phone numbers;
Police domestic violence unit: 631495
Victim Support: 679950
Your Social Worker number, GP, your childrens school, your lawyer.
Womens Aid 24hour help line: 08082000247
- Teach your children how to call 999 and what to say, eg. Address
- Can you trust your neighbours? If so tell them the situation and ask them to ring the Police if they hear sounds of a violent attack
- Have an escape plan and rehearse it, so in an emergency you and the children can get out safely.
- Pack an emergency bag for yourself and your children and hide it somewhere safe (family members, friends, neighbours)
- Things to pack:
Money, bank papers, bank cards, birth certificates for your and children.
Spare Mobile with all your contacts in, including emergency numbers
Passports (including childrens), driving licence, work permits, visas, national insurance number etc
Keys,house, car, work. Get extra keys cut and hide in the safe place
Copies of documents relating to your home, mortgage, tenancy & insurance
Family photographs, irreplaceable sentimental items
Clothing & toiletries for you and your children. Small toys for your children
- Try to keep a small amount of change on you at all times, encase you need to get a bus or use the phone box.
- If you suspect your partner is going to attack you, try lowering the risk. For example, where there is a way out and you can access the telephone. Avoid the kitchen where there is likely to be knifes. Avoid rooms where you might be trapped or shut into a cupboard or other small place.
- Be prepared to leave the house in an emergency.
Preparing to Leave:
There may come a time when your only option is to leave your partner. It is important to plan this carefully as some abusers increase their violence if they suspect you are thinking of leaving. They might continue to abuse you after you have left, it is important you know ending the relationship might not end the abuse.
Plan to leave at a time you know your partner will not be around. Try to take everything you will need with you from the things to pack list above. Take your children with you as this may cause problems with them living with you in future. If they are in school contact the Head Teacher so they are aware of the situation and know who is collecting them in future.
Thinking about leaving and planning to leave can be a long process. Planning it doesnt mean you have to do it straight away or mean you will even do it at all. But it may help to be able to consider all the options and think about how you could overcome the difficulties involved. If at all possible try to set aside a small amount of money each week or even a separator bank account.
Protecting yourself after you have left:
If you leave your partner because of abuse and believe you may still be at risk, it is safer for you to tell people like family, friends, your childrens school, your work place. This is so they do not inadvertently hand out information to your ex-partner, but it is entirely your decision.
If you have left home but are staying in the same town or area, these are ways which you can increase your safety:
- Try not to place yourself in a vulnerable situation on isolate yourself.
- Try to avoid places that you used when you were together like shops, cafes, bank,doctors, etc.
- Try to alter your routine as much as you can. Alter regular appointments that you have
- Try avoiding using any shared bank accounts, if the bank statements get sent to your partner they will see what transactions you have made.
- Make sure your address doesnt appear on any court papers
- If you need to phone your abuser (or anyone whom he is in contact with) make sure your number is untraceable by dialling 141 before ringing.
- Talk to your children about the need to keep your address and phone number confidential.
If you stay or return to your home after your partner has left, then you will probably have an occupation order or injunction. If the injunction has powers of arrest attached, then do make sure that your local Police station has a copy and that the Police know they need to respond quickly in an emergency. However, it is important that you know you do not have to stay at home with or without an injunction if you do not feel safe to do so.
You should also consider the following after legal advice: Changing the locks on all the doors
- Putting locks on all the windows if you dont already have them
- Installing smoke detectors on each floor and providing fire extinguishers
- Installing an outside light (back & front) which comes on automatically when someone approaches
- Informing your neighbours your partner no longer lives there and to inform you or the Police if they see them near by.
- Changing your telephone number and making it ex-directory & Using an answering machine to screen calls
- Keeping copies of all court orders together with dates and times of previous incidents.
If your ex-partner continues to harass, threaten or abuse you, make sure you keep detailed records of each incident. Including the date, time it occurred, what was said or done, photographs of damage to your property or injuries to yourself or others if possible. If your partner or ex-partner injures you see your GP, so this can be documented. If you have an injunction in place with a power of arrest, or there is a restraining order in place, you should ask the Police to enforce this. If your ex-partner is in breach of any court order you should also inform your lawyer.
In an emergency always phone 999