Simplification is usually the best way to go. So, you are not contemplating leaving just yet, but you are consistently in fear, being verbally abused and beginning to think this is not the way you want the rest of your life to go. You have options and alternatives. For those who read this blog regularly, by now you know I am fanatical about the need for a safety/exit plan being in place before you start walking out the door. REMEMBER: A victim is at the highest level of danger when they try to leave. That is not to make you decide not to get out of an abusive relationship because you are afraid of it getting to that point. It’s more to encourage you to have that safety/exit plan ready to go if/when you choose to use it.
In all my personal review of various organizations’ offerings of Safety Plans, I was extremely pleased to find the detailed Plan from The Haven of Lake and Sumter Counties here in Florida. It clearly gives you a plethora of information many do not consider including in their Safety Plans. You can get to their website for even more information by clicking here.
It may consume a bit of time, but here’s the simplest way I know to share the procedure with you:
Domestic Violence Safety Plan
Thanks to Haven of Sumter and Lake Counties for such a superb Safety Plan!
Safety: During an Explosive Incident
- If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area that has access to an exit, and not in the bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere near weapons.
- Practice how to get out of your home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevator, or stairwell would be best.
- Have a packed bag ready and keep it in an undisclosed, but accessible, place in order to leave quickly.
- Identify a neighbor you can tell about the violence and ask that they call 9-1-1 if they hear a disturbance coming from your home. Devise a code word to use with your children, family, and neighbors when you need help.
- Decide and plan for where you will go if you have to leave home.
- Use your own instincts and judgment. If the situation is very dangerous, consider giving the abuser what he wants to calm him down. You have the right to protect yourself.
Safety: When Preparing to Leave
- Open a saving account in your own name to start to establish your independence.
- Leave money, an extra set of copies of important documents, and extra clothes with someone you trust so that you may be able to leave quickly.
- Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
- Leave the shelter phone number close at hand and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times.
- Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave. Remember that leaving is the most dangerous time.
Safety: In Your Own Home
- Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and
safety devises to secure your windows.
- Discuss a safety plan with your children.
- Inform your children’s school, day care, etc. about who has permission to pick up
- Inform neighbors and the landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and that
they should call 9-1-1 if they see him near your home.
Safety: With a Protective Order
- Keep your protective order on you at all times. Keep a copy of the order at the
house for babysitters, etc. should your children be involved.
- Call law enforcement if your partner breaks the order.
- Think of alternative ways to keep safe if law enforcement does not respond right away.
- Inform family, friends, and neighbors that you have a protective order in effect.
Safety: On The Job and In Public
- Decide who at work you will inform of your situation. This should include office or building security.
- Arrange to have someone screen your calls if possible.
- Devise a safety plan for when you leave work. Have someone escort you to your transportation. Use a variety of routes if possible. Think about what you would do if something happened while going home.
Your Safety and Emotional Health
- If you are thinking of returning to a potentially abusive situation, discuss an alternative plan with someone you trust.
- If you have to communicate with your partner, determine the safest way to do so.
- Plan to attend a women’s or victim’s support group for at least six to twelve weeks to gain support from others and to learn more about yourself and the relationship.
- Domestic Violence outreach counseling is provided free of charge at many/most domestic violence shelters and/or organizations.
What You Need to Take With You
- Driver’s License
- Children’s Birth Certificate
- Your Birth Certificate
- Lease, Rental Agreement, House Deed
- Bank Books and Checkbooks
- Insurance Papers
- House and Car Keys
- Small Salable Objects
- Address Book
- Family Medical Records
- Social Security Identification
- Welfare Identification
- School Records
- Work Permits
- Green Card/Passport
- Divorce Papers
Carolyn is an advocate for sexual/domestic violence and assault awareness, also focusing on child sexual abuse. She is a Life Direction & Empowerment Coach, working with victims and survivors of molestation, sexual assault, domestic violence or spousal abuse, and bringing training to organizations seeking to help victims. Hennecy spent much time during October 2011, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, with media doing radio and television interviews. See Carolyn’s interview with Gayle Guyardo of NBC Channel 8 News Today Early Morning Show and her featured segment on the ABC Action News Emmy Award winning “Taking Action Against Domestic Violence” at orangeblossomwishes.com.
- Domestic Violence – Why Do I Need an Exit Plan If I’m Not Ready to Leave? (cshennecy.wordpress.com)
- The Signs of Domestic Violence (everydayhealth.com)