If you are in a relationship where you have ever felt frightened of your partner; if your partner has isolated you from people you care about; if your partner has threatened violence or has harmed you or your children, you are not alone. Violence and abuse are more common than you may realize, but you don’t have to suffer in isolation. Domestic Violence can happen to anyone – whether wealthy, middle-class, or low-income, no matter what race, gender, ethnicity, or level of education.
Personal Safety Plan
- Make sure your cell phone has the local emergency number on speed dial. If you don’t have a cell phone, NEWS may be able to provide one that will allow you to call the emergency number.
- If you have children who are old enough, teach them how to dial 911. Have a special emergency code word that the children know, so they can call 911 when they hear you say the code word. It can be for any emergency, not just domestic violence. Get cordless phones and keep them charged.
- Practice ways to get out of your home safely. Be mindful of rooms where there are weapons or hard surfaces. Kitchens and bathrooms are probably the most unsafe rooms in the house.
- Even if you are not planning to leave, think about where you could go if you wanted to. Where could you leave the family pets?
- Items to have ready to take if necessary:
- Car keys, House keys, Work keys, Money
- Drivers License
- Check Book, Credit Cards, Bank information
- Copy of Lease, Rental Agreement, or Deed
- Medicine or Prescriptions
- Your children’s favorite toy or book
- Green card, Work permit, or Passport
- Social Security numbers for all family members
- Birth Certificates, Medical records
- Restraining Order, Custody or Divorce papers
- Insurance papers
- Address book
- Welfare documents
- Pictures, jewelry, things that mean a lot to you
Pack a suitcase and store it somewhere where it won’t be found, perhaps at a friend or neighbor’s house. If you can, open a bank account at a different bank from your partner’s bank and start saving money. If you decide to leave, try to leave when the abuser is not home.
It takes a lot of courage to leave what is familiar and embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. In movement there is life, and in change there is power.
Attend a Support Group
Although everybody copes with and experiences emotional pain in their own way, when we come together to share our experiences we see that there are many similarities, too. Support groups can help you find strength and encouragement. NEWS offers free confidential groups in both English and Spanish. These are specifically for women and children coping with experiences of domestic violence and sexual assault.
A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.
Be Safe at Work
- If the batterer calls you at work and the message is recorded, save the message.
- Report every violation of a restraining order.
- Park in an open area, near the building if possible. If security is available, ask to be escorted into the building.
- If your company has an automated phone directory, consider having your name removed.
- If you work at the front desk or in a space that is visible upon entry to the building, consider moving your desk to a more secure area.
- Add your workplace to the restraining order and provide a copy to your supervisor, Human Resources department, and security.
- Give your employer a photo of the abuser.
- Make sure emergency contact numbers are up to date and on file at work.
- If your employer has security, have them escort you to your car or perhaps another employee can accompany you.
- If you’ve been stalked, consider changing your work hours or location.
- Add your child care center to your restraining order and be sure they have a copy.
The door is open to safety and hope.