Domestic Violence situations carry a
potential for some very lethal consequences. If you or someone
you know is in a domestic violence situation it is extremely
important to have a Safety Plan. This page will give you some
helpful tips. It will also point out situations and scenarios
you should be wary of.
DURING AN EXPLOSIVE INCIDENT
- Identify a neighbor you can tell about the violence
and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance
coming from your home.
- Devise a code word to use with your children, family,
friends, and neighbors when you need the police.
TIPS FOR VICTIMS LIVING IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SITUATIONS
These safety tips will be useful for anyone who
is threatened by abuse whether they are or are not currently living
with the abuser.
- Hiding extra money, car keys, and coil
wires (for car)
- Hiding important documents (marriage
license, birth certificates, social security cards, school
records, etc.) in a safe place so you can get them in a hurry,
even think about storing them somewhere else.
- Keep a bag/suitcase packed for emergency
- Plan a safe place to go in case of an
emergency such as shelter, a trusted friend, or a relative's
- Have the phone number of the police
department handy and get the name and badge number of the
responding police officer should the need arise to call.
- Teach and encourage the children to go to
a neighbor's house to call the police during an attack.
- If possible have a special room in the
house with an extra strong lock and phone. This room
should not be the kitchen, or anywhere else weapons are easily
- Understand the cycle of violence/power
and control so that you are able to recognize when a violent
episode may occur. You should then take the children and
leave the home at once.
- If attacked, go to the hospital for
prompt medical attention: have the abuse documented on the
hospital record. Call HAVEN of Tioga County for an
- Keep a record of injuries, including
photographs so that legal evidence can be produced to press
charges and/or secure a protection order.
- Have a special signal to use with
neighbors, friends, or relatives with which to alert a call for
help. In such cases, the police can be called.
- If a you return home to the residence
after having had the abuser evicted you should change all the
- Have an escape plan in mind and walk
through it several times in case the need arises.
WHEN PREPARING TO LEAVE
- Determine who would let you stay with them or lend you some
- Always try to take your children with you or make
arrangements to leave them with someone safe.
- Leave money, extra keys, copies of important documents and
clothes with someone you trust.
- Open a savings account in your own name to establish or
increase your independence.
- Keep the shelter numbers close by and keep change or
a calling card with you at all times.
- Review your safety plan with a domestic violence advocate
to plan the safest way to leave your batterer
Remember --- leaving your
abusive partner is the most dangerous time. Review your safety plan
as often as necessary so you know the safest way to leave.
HAVE LEFT AN ABUSIVE PARTNER
Having left the violence of your home does not
mean that all your problems are over. The person that has
recently and frequently used and abused you may react in several
predictable ways. Knowing what this person will probably do
may have a beneficial effect on your ability to cope with their
demands, their attempts to persuade and intimidate and better enable
you to make your decisions with less fear.
- One of their first efforts to locate you
will be to go to the friends and family members that the think
you may go to. Depending on the abuser's relationship to
them, the abuser will either threaten them or attempt to gain
their sympathy. If these people do not know where you are,
only that you are well, then they cannot be frightened into
giving that information. If the abuser uses the sympathy
line, the story may be such a distortion of what really happened
that they will want to persuade you to return to the poor
Remember, the abuser can be charming and persuasive (that's
how you were acquired in the first place), so be
prepared for this same tactic to be used on others.
- If the abuser does make contact with you by whatever means,
a great apology line including promises of new ways of behavior,
gifts, things for the house and children will probably be tried
first: anything that will make you believe and will bring you
back within the sphere of dominance.
Remember, many of these abusers have indicated that their
women are their possessions to do with as they
please and they intend to establish and maintain control.
The next pattern of
behavior is generally one of threats and attempts to intimidate.
This will often include threats to attack family and friends,
threats to kill you or "put out a contract on you", and threats
of suicide. The wisest answer here is to remind them that
they alone are responsible for their actions and the results of
these actions, and refuse to listen to further threats.
The next step is
the counseling/religion step. The abuser will suddenly
become a "Christian" and attend church activities in a most
obvious manner. Even ministries doubt these sudden
conversions! Or, they may begin making the rounds of
counseling services trying to find a counselor that will call
you and tell you that you should go back home and help sort out
Unless a person is willing to go with one counselor and continue
involvement in counseling whether or not you
come back, then the sincerity in seeking to resolve the personal and
marital problems is doubtful.
If the above four
steps have not worked, there are others that may be tried, such
Crying and begging, particularly in a public situation so that you
are embarrassed and appear to be a
Harassment by phone calls, threats, legal frustrations, showing up
at work and hanging around family.
One of the main
threats that will be used is that the abuser will not let you
have the children. Remember, in this case the weight of
the law is on your side, that in 99 cases out of 100, the mother
will receive custody of the children and has a number of
community agencies available in helping you deal with the
problem of being a single parent.
Remember, you do have rights and you have laws to
help protect your rights. if you allow yourself to be
intimidated by the bluffs and false information, then you will
continue to lead a life of agony and fear.
Take a Danger Assessment to
determine your risk.
Safety Tips for After Leaving an Abusive Relationship
Checklist of Things to Take When You Leave
If You Believe You Might Be at Risk for Physical Harm