Managing an abusive relationship is difficult. If you are experiencing violence in your relationship, thinking about how to stay safe is important. Whether you plan to remain in the relationship or are preparing to leave, there are steps you can take to plan for your safety. WEAVE has developed a Safety Plan to help you.
How to stay safe when…
There is an Abusive Incident Happening at Home
- Avoid rooms with items that can be used as weapons (i.e. the kitchen, bathroom).
- Avoid rooms or places without escape routes (i.e. closets, bathrooms).
- Establish a safe place to escape to (i.e. a neighbor’s house).
The Abusive Incident is Over
- Call 911 if you are in danger.
- Request copies of police reports.
- Keep a list of dates/times of all police responses your home.
- Seek any necessary medical attention.
- Keep copies of any medical reports.*
- Photograph injuries or property damage.
Preparing to Leave
- DO NOT try to negotiate leaving your partner—keep it a secret.
- Plan to leave when your abuser is away from home.
- Determine where you can stay—a safe place—including friends, family, or WEAVE’s Safehouse.
- Consider applying for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order—WEAVE’s Support Line can assist you with additional information including WEAVE Legal.
- Keep some gas in your car at all times.
You Are at Work
- You have employment rights as a victim of domestic violence. Inform your supervisor or Human Resources about the situation.
- Provide Human Resources with a copy of your restraining order and a description/picture of your abuser.
- Document/save e-mails and voicemail messages from your abuser.
- Silence Doesn’t Work Here - Resources for employers in responding to domestic violence.
There are Children
- Establish escape routes with your children and identify safe adults they can trust in emergencies.
- Teach your children to avoid dangerous rooms (i.e. the kitchen, bathroom) during abusive incidents.
- Teach them how to call 911 and ensure that they have your address and phone number memorized.
- Teach them to not interfere in the abuse.
- If safe/appropriate, create safety protocol with your children’s school or daycare.
- If you have a restraining order, provide a copy to your children’s school/daycare.
There are Pets
- Get resources and information about pet safety planning from Safe Place for Pets.
You Have Left
- If your home is unsafe, review other housing options such as the WEAVE Safehouse or a family member’s home.
- Consider applying for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.
- Report every violation of the restraining order to law enforcement.
- Keep a log or journal of any contacts or threats from the abuser. Teach children not to open any door without your permission.
- Consider changing existing locks or adding additional locks to doors and windows. Keep doors and windows locked at all times in your car and at home.*
- You may wish to install an alarm system.*
- Consider involving a 3rd party in custody exchanges or do them at a safe/public location.
*Staying safe may include unplanned costs. You may qualify for Victim Witness Assistance to pay for these expenses.
Important Information to Keep in Mind When Escaping Domestic Violence
- Leaving an abuser can be the most dangerous time in the relationship.
- If you take your child(ren) with you, contact the District Attorney’s Child Abduction Unit and/or a private attorney regarding custody rights and to alert law enforcement that your children in your custody and safe.
- Temporary custody of children may be granted through a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.
The following are items you may need when leaving. Some items will require having the original while copies of others are fine. Consider creating a computer folder (at work or via private e-mail) to store information. You may want to obtain a safety deposit box that is easily accessible in the event that you leave.
Take originals of the following:
- Birth certificates (for yourself and your children)
- ATM/Credit Cards & Checkbook
- Social Security card(s)
- Driver’s License/Passport
- Medical insurance cards
- Child custody papers
- Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) paperwork
- Immigration documents
- Car title/registration
- Marriage certificate
Keep copies of the following:
- Bank account numbers
- Log-ins and passwords
- Bank/Credit card statements
- Tax records
- Immunization records
- Lease/rental agreements
- Important phone numbers/contact information
Other things you may need:
- Spare set of car/house keys
- Safe cell phone
- Emergency clothing
- Diaper bag
- Pet(s)—WEAVE’s Safehouse can only accommodate service animals
Technology/Social Media Safety:
- Change passwords on e-mail, bank & social media accounts.
- Set up alerts to be notified of attempts to access your accounts.
- Avoid using photo apps which include geotagging of your location.
- Be aware of the location finder on your phone or GPS on cars as it may disclose your location.
- Know your social media privacy settings & use them to manage contact.
- Create a “safe” e-mail where you can send/store documents and communications.
- Document threats/harassment made through e-mail, text message, or social media—take a screenshot.